Loving the Unlovable

Let’s face it, we’re not very lovable. And by we, I mean the whole human race. We’re cruel, bitter, resentful, angry, hurtful, and whole other slew of adjectives that I could use to describe us. Even on our best days, we’re still pretty crummy people. Even when we think we’re pretty good, we’re not!

Isaiah 64:6 – We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

We are all sinners, I don’t care how good of a person you think you are, you’re still a sinner (I’m sorry if that sounds judgmental. I’m not judging, I’m just stating the truth). God is so perfect and holy that He can’t even be the in the presence of our ugly sinfulness. We all have days where everything is going right, we’ve done great, productive, helpful things, we’ve served others, and we feel like we’ve made a great difference in the world. And we need to remember, that even on those great days, we are still infected with sin and still not good enough to get into heaven.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we’re all horrible people and there’s no hope for us so we might as well just give up now. On the contrary, what I’m saying is the exact opposite. What I’m saying is that we are sinners and without justification for our sins, we can never be right in the sight of God. That justification comes from our faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In small group we’ve been studying 1 John and last night the passage really struck me. At first, when I read it I was thinking about how it really applied to some people in my life. But then, as we were discussing it I had a shockingly convicting realization that it applied to me as well (talk about a damaged ego and a harsh reminder of my selfishness).

1 John 2:9-11 – 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

So going back to my initial statement in this post, we are not lovable. I have quite a few people in my life who I tolerate and I “love” them when I have to. But it’s not real, unconditional love. It’s an “I really don’t know what to say or how to act because I don’t want to be mean, so I’m just going to pretend” kind of love. And I’m pretty sure that kind of love is frowned upon. We can say that we know Christ all we want and we can have a lot of really good theological knowledge, but unless we love others we are just blowing smoke.

Verse 11 sacres me, the thought of becoming so desensitized to my own sin that I can’t even see where I am headed…it makes me shudder. It’s really easy to convince myself that I shouldn’t have to go out of my way or be inconvenienced by loving someone who I can’t stand and who admittedly doesn’t want much to do with me. But that’s exactly what God calls us to do…and to be honest, I wish it weren’t so dang hard!!

Matthew 5:46 – For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

One thing that really struck me during our small group discussion last night was that it’s either love or hate. There is no grey area in this one. There are a lot of things that are not clear cut and black and white. I generally see this world as having a lot of grey area, so to acknowledge that there are things that are only black and white kind of scares me. Ultimately though, it’s pretty simple, if you are not loving someone, if you only “like” them or claim to be indifferent to them – you are hating them. If you are avoiding someone, don’t want good for someone, or want evil for someone, you are hating them.

We’re pretty unlovable, and yet God still love us unconditionally. So what’s stopping us from loving other people?

Early in my Christian walk, when I realized that I am supposed to love as Christ loved, I was really kind of offended in a way. I was angry that I was supposed to love as Christ loved because He was perfect and I am not so much, so how could I EVER be expected to love as He loved?

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I am not perfect like Him and I won’t be until He brings me home. However, it is no longer me who lives but He who lives in me. So where I once couldn’t do things like love others, I now can because of His spirit inside of me. I have the power to love people who drive me bonkers and to share Christ with people who I would really rather not. Why? Because He first loved me. I know enough about myself that I am pretty unlovable, and somehow, He loves me anyway. It’s not about me anymore, but rather about sharing His love with everyone else.

So what’s my excuse? Ultimately, I don’t have one. I am lazy and selfish…which is just another reminder of how much I need Christ.

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