Many of us have heard the term “loving the unlovable”. I don’t know how much I actually buy into that phrase, as I believe at the end of the day, we all want love, making us lovable, even if it means putting in a little extra work. However, in the landscape of life there will be people once close, or possibly never who make loving them from up close or afar hard to do, but we have to do it.
It baffles me even more as I grow older, especially with the advent of social media being a barometer for people forming opinions and expressing how they feel about one another, that through a text, picture or post, usually leading to the tirades, the misinformation, the misunderstandings, the tea, and the shade, at the heart of it is usually a person who wanted your love (or some form of its expression) and felt like they didn’t get it to their satisfaction or expectation.
From others, I’ve heard stories about their situations, or had people personally upset with me. Like those I know, my reactions to their actions have varied from intense efforts of restoration which proved fruitful….to no efforts at all, allowing them to stay in the place of isolation they had chosen. In those times where restoration wasn’t the order of the day, I would still hear God say “love them anyway”, whether you want to or not, and whether you are in their life or not. Huh? What? How?
Loving those who don’t want your love, but really do takes courage, compassion and maturity. Truth be told, usually the people who are a challenge to love have been that way way before you, or with you, just regarding someone else. Never to be left with no warning, signs are usually present before the catastrophe happens. You’ve likely seen the behavior before. Think back to the failed friendships, family falling outs, broken covenants, or dissolved associations you’ve had. How many times has it been with people who, prior to the tables turning on you had expressed the sentiments now directed toward you toward others?
Usually it’s the usual suspects of fear of being on the outside or not mattering, unresolved hurt from the past, poor external influences and again, unmet love and expectations which rear their ugly heads. So instead of choosing to directly speak to you regarding resolving an offense they would rather speak about it to others often, and live in their perceived reality of the negative they feel and eventually grow to feed upon. For some it’s easier to say “he didn’t call me”, or “she didn’t invite me”, or “they didn’t help me” when their own phones and postage fees would show that they’d long ago stopped calling, inviting and/or helping (if they ever did in the first place). Some specialize in the scapegoat or blame game method making you a component in their calamities, whether you knew you were, actually were, or none of the above, then joining partners with those they can sway their way. Others would rather relish in their disappointment of you not doing what they thought you should (notice I said “they thought”) do for them and live life telling the world (or at least their circle of ears) what all you didn’t do, or what they think you’ve done for others. And there are some who simply can’t separate your (flawed), pure actions from their pains from others and the self-inflicted pains they personally created.
Loving those who don’t want your love, but really do, can be as simple as being able to pray for them, forgiving, or staying silent in your own defense. That in itself can be hard! It could mean opening up the conversation board or going back to the drawing board to see what the Lord next has in store for your updated association, but what it always means is loving…whether you want to or not. We were created to be loved, and to love, from a God who is Love, who often reminds us to love…even those who make it hard to do.