What happens when we love the unlovable people in our lives?

Maybe it’s that neighbor whose dog is always barking at 6 am. Or possibly a co-worker who recently stepped on your toes for their gain.

Perhaps it’s that woman at church who never has anything positive to say. It could be a family member who is impossible to please.

Maybe it’s a friend who betrayed you.

Relationships can be hard. Loving the unlovable can be so challenging, but by the power of His Spirit within us, we can do it!

And when we do, we display the power, glory, and love of our heavenly Father.

Why We Should Love the Unlovable

Why Should We Love the Unlovable?

Let’s explore this question a bit by looking at some scriptures.

God Tells Us To Love Our Enemies

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:27-28

If for no other reason at all, we need to love the unlovable simply because God says so. There are moments in our relationships with certain people when we feel like it is impossible to love them. These are the times we must remember this command that God has given us to love our enemies. Then, lean on His grace and strength instead of on our feelings.

God Loves the Unlovable

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

We need to love the unlovable because that is what our Father has done for us. It was while we were still sinners that God sent Jesus. God did not send His Son to die for us while we were worthy of love, but rather when we were very unworthy. Loving difficult people is a way we can extend the same kindness and compassion that we have been given in Christ.

Loving Others Is Proof of God’s Presence

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. – 1 John 4:11-13

Love is the single greatest evidence that God is dwelling within us. If His Spirit is living within us, we will be bearing the fruit of love. As we love others, especially in the moments when it’s difficult for us to do so, we display His presence dwelling within us.

Loving the Unlovable Sets Us Apart

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. – Luke 6:32-33

We as children of God are to be a peculiar people. We should do things in a way that contrasts the ways of the world. That includes how we love others. If we only love the people who are loving towards us, we are not doing anything different than those who belong to the world.

God wants His people to be the light and salt of the world. He desires that we point others toward the love, grace, and mercy to be found in a relationship with Jesus. Therefore, we must be set apart! We must look differently, act differently, think differently, and love differently.

How Do We Love the Unlovable?

Ok, so now we understand why we need to love the unlovable but how exactly are we to do this? What does this look like practically?

Let’s look at this verse one more time:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:27-28

Do Good to Others

good – original word: kalós: well

To love the unlovable means to do good, or well, to others. Again, this is about offering to others what God has given us. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life for the good of others. Are we willing to follow in His footsteps?

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. – 1 John 3:16-18

Bless Your Enemies

bless – original word: eulogeó: to speak well of, praise

God’s Word says to bless your enemies. This means that you speak highly of them. Instead of complaining about their words or their behavior, we compliment them and give a good report of them to others. We don’t engage in gossip! If we have nothing nice to say about the person, then we keep our mouths closed.

Pray For People

pray – original word: proseuchomai: to pray, I pray, pray for, offer prayer

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We need to pray for the difficult people in our lives. Pray is powerful! Prayer changes things! Including our hearts.

I have personally found that as I pray for people my attitude towards them begins to change. Compassion uproots bitterness. Forgiveness displaces anger.

This is where I want to end, but also where I want to encourage you to begin.

Is there someone, in particular, coming to mind as you consider these things? Let me encourage you to begin praying for that person. Ask the Lord to help you love the unlovable people in your life.

Then, watch God move.

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