Loving Even When It’s Hard
There is a time in every relationship when it is easy to love someone else, whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a spouse. Loving another gets put to the test, when it is no longer about relying on the feeling of loving someone but loving someone in spite of how they make us feel.
When, not if, you find yourself in this situation, remember a few things:
1. Believe that truth outweighs your feelings.
The devil loves to make us think our feelings are more valid than the truth. He will fan the flame of our hurts and try to get us thinking that we are justified in how we feel. Even if someone has deliberately hurt us and brought us to the brink of emotional turmoil, we should not let our feelings dictate our actions.
Christ says to pray for those who mistreat you, not to give them what they deserve. Oh, if we received what we deserved, salvation and redemption would not even be available to us!
When those feelings of hurt overtake us and all we can see is their wrong, stop and pray for them. Beg God to give you Jesus’ perspective and see that person through his eyes. Ask him to soften your heart so that God can be glorified.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
2. React and talk to that person like you are dealing with one of God’s children.
I love the analogy that Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, used in a video series I watched several years ago. It has forever stuck with me. If you are having a moment of intense fellowship with your spouse (or someone else), picture Jesus standing right behind them. Take a breath then continue talking to that person like you are talking to Jesus.
Well, the same should be true for the child of God standing in front of you. S/he is created in God’s image and is precious in his sight…even when you feel hurt by him or her. If we keep our focus on Jesus and act like we are speaking to him during these heated conversations, the end result will bring us closer to God and to each other.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right had, I will not be shaken.
3. Remember love is an action word that is not dependent on others actions.
Ouch! This is one of the hardest lessons for my kids…and myself to learn. What about you? How many times has this phrase (or something similar) flown out of our mouths:
“Just because someone treats you badly, doesn’t mean you should treat them badly.”
“Did you treat ___, like you would want to be treated?”
I, too, have to take that step back and remind myself that my love is dependent on God’s truth, which is everlasting and does not show favoritism.
Did you know we will show we are true children of God by showing our love to others, even when they mistreat us? Just as God does! Remembering this when our emotions are high is vital.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Being a visual person, 1 Corinthians 13 always helps me to see where my love needs more action and truth and less feeling.
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Prayer to take Loving Action
Is there something in this list that runs counter to your feelings. If so, take some time to pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to help strengthen your heart in truth instead of these feelings.
Oh, how amazingly patient you are with us, Lord. Your love and grace are truly astounding. With humble hearts, knowing that we are not perfect,we ask that you show us where we can love more and rely on our feelings less. We thank you for being merciful with us as we mature in our relationship with you and seek your wisdom and truth above the wisdom of this age that tries to trigger our emotions into action. May we stand on your truth and share your love with all we come in contact with. In the One who is the living example of true love – Amen!