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How to Love Unlovable People
There is a misconception that love is just a feeling. It’s not. Love is a commitment to wanting the very best for someone and demonstrating it with your actions.
Welcome to the 76th issue of The Aim and Soar Life, a weekly newsletter about faith, personal growth, and lifestyle that provides actionable, relatable, and biblically rooted content to help you live abundantly and GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
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I hope you had a wonderful week despite any challenges you may have faced. It may not have been what you desired, but God pulled you through!
I stopped watching the news years ago so I could control my eye gates and ear gates and protect myself from hearing all the horrible things that happened during the week. I did this because I found myself feeling depressed after listening to the evening news.
It seems that we are faced with bad news each week locally and globally.
The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies and let’s be real, that is TOUGH. Some people commit acts so heinous that it is hard to feel anything but hatred toward them.
3 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:43-44, NIV
How do I pray for those who harm children or who commit violent acts against innocent people?
On more than a few occasions, I’ve wanted to tell God, “I don’t wish (insert any name you want here) any good!”
God already knows my heart, so I didn’t have to say it. He heard my secret thoughts.
Like many people—even Christians, it has sometimes been difficult for me to pray for people I have deemed “unlovable” —not because God deemed them so, but because I, in my humanness could not process the harm the person caused me or someone else.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to love a child abuser, serial killer, or someone who intentionally brings harm or death to others.
But no one is beyond God’s arm of forgiveness—no one.
But God didn’t suggest that we love our enemies, he gave us an implicit command to do so. He said, “Do it.” That means you must do it.
If you are rolling your eyes and smacking your lips at the thought of loving people who are full of hate, bent on being evil, and seemingly unsavable, I get it.
There have been many times in my life that I’ve wanted to scratch someone’s eyes out, lock them in a dungeon, and throw away the key! (Just being honest here).
I have been sick to my stomach with grief over unnecessary acts of violence committed by people who seemed to lack remorse and were indifferent about the suffering they caused. I wanted justice for the victims and their families. But even so, I am called to love. This includes forgiveness.
We can love unlovable people by doing the following:
1. KNOW WHAT LOVE MEANS
There is a misconception that love is just a feeling. It’s not. Love is a commitment to wanting the very best for someone and demonstrating that with your actions. It means loving others as God loves them. Our charge is to pray for those we have deemed unlovable, that they may repent and receive God’s mercy and salvation.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8, NIV
God is always ready to receive those who repent. He will forgive even the most heinous sins.
If God can forgive, you must forgive too. Again, this is not a recommendation, it is a call to do as God says.
When there is a person who is unrepentant and has harmed children, I remind myself that although I want the person to receive the just consequences for their actions, the person also needs prayer. I must put my personal feelings aside and do what God asks me to do. Loving is about wanting the best for someone, and being humane to them.
2. REMEMBER THEY ARE A CREATION OF GOD
Every person is valuable to God—even criminals, even people who you may feel are the lowest in society because of their actions. God does not view any of us as unredeemable. We may reject God’s offer of salvation, but He sees beyond our faults.
I recently read an article about Roy Ratcliff, the pastor who baptized serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, and wrote a book about Dahmer’s journey to faith.
Pastor Roy was troubled by one of his congregation members who said, “If Jeffrey Dahmer is going to heaven, I don’t want to be there.”😳
That’s a shocking statement coming from someone who is supposed to have a relationship with Christ. But some people may actually feel this way. Let me set the record straight and say I am not one of them. There is nothing on this planet or beyond this planet that would ever make me not want to be with Jesus forever!😍
But let’s unpack the “feelings” behind the statement. What the person was saying is that he/she doesn’t “feel” that someone like Dahmer deserves to be in heaven because of the sins he committed, even though Dahmer allegedly repented. And let me add, that only God knows Dahmer’s heart and whether his confession of faith was genuine or not. That’s not for us to decide.
Believing that others are not worthy of Jesus’ forgiveness is wrong thinking. They are no less worthy than you or me. This kind of thinking attempts to limit the scope of salvation. Remember Jonah? It took a whole whale and some straight-talking from God to get his mind right.
God’s forgiveness and salvation can reach the darkest parts of us if we are willing to accept Him.
Thankfully, none of us get to decide who gets into heaven. Jesus died for all of us! Even those who have committed unspeakable acts are creations of God and He has the right to save them and bring them into His Kingdom.
3. LOVE THEM WITH INTENTION
Could you pray with and share The Gospel with a murderer, a child molester, or a serial killer? Hmmm.
I said earlier that love is about action. It’s not about what we feel or feel like doing. It’s about doing something because God calls us to do it. Therefore, we are doing what is good and right by God.
Love is intentional. It’s planned. You do it because you must, not because you want to.
You make a conscious decision to commit acts of love like forgiving, being patient, and praying for someone.
Jesus loved with intention. Even as He gave His life on the cross, He asked the Father to forgive those who were responsible for crucifying Him.
That is some intentional love, my friend. That is our example.
We have no choice but to follow in His way.
Pray for those whose minds are clouded by hate and conspiracy theories that disregard God’s sovereignty.
Pray for those who have never been shown love and all they know how to do is inflict pain on others.
Pray for the lost, that they may receive God.
Finally, be the peace that the world needs. Be the salt. Be the light.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Peace and Love
Until Next Time,
GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
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