So I have this loved one I’ll call George. He’s a good guy, just a little hard for other guys to befriend because he’s a little different from other guys in that he’s not into sports and he is a little quirky. He’s a great father and once you get to know him you’ll see things about him you like once you’ve gotten past the quirks. He’s not very neat and is a big procrastinator. His dad didn’t treat him very well growing up and it made him a bit of a mama’s boy so he can be immature at times and the hurt he was dealt growing up makes him a little selfish at times. It can be very annoying and frustrating, let me tell you! The Lord put him into my life though, and lately I’ve been trying to remind myself to be loving and let him see Jesus in me when I’m in the midst of my frustration with his behavior. I’m starting to see that when he is at his most unlovable-ness is when the results of his abuse at the hand of his father arises in him. I think it’s his safety mechanism. Focusing on self is his way of protecting himself and that’s the pattern he grew up relying on and even though he is an adult now and his dad is gone, his programming is set.
I’m trying to remember that and be loving to him when my flesh wants to lash out. Not always easy! 🙂 I’m hoping it changes me into a more loving, humble woman who is more like Jesus.Both the unlovable person and the person struggling to love them learn and grow from the lesson in many ways (see the devotional under this).
I have a friend I’ve known for about 30 years. I’ve always considered him a man full of the love of Christ and have always considered him like a dear friend and brother. I’ll call him Mike. Mike has a long history of befriending the lesser-thans. Less attractive, less lovely, less affluent, less intelligent. I hadn’t seen Mike in many years and we reconnected when I started going to a Bible study he goes to. Mike was a big help when my family and I had to move last summer. When I introduced George and Mike I was hoping they would become friends. George really needs friends and Mike has been such a good friend to me, I was hoping he might take George under his wing and show him God’s love and mentor him and lead him into a closer walk with Jesus.
One night during Bible study, George was having a particularly rough time and went into a different room. Mike noticed and followed him and they talked a long time. Mike offered to connect him with George and get together with him regularly. I was so thankful and thanking God that there was a potential friendship blooming and was hoping Mike would help ground George into a stronger faith in Christ and that George could give Mike a friend to laugh with and be a help to. George and Mike both minister to a mutual friend of ours who is disabled so they bump into each other there from time to time.
But alas, it didn’t happen. Mike grew aggravated with George (as expressed to me). Mike stays very busy and often lights the fire at both ends. We can all understand that, but it’s been a very disheartening experience for George and led him to not have the positive experience with other Christians I was so hoping he could experience.
Anyway…this is a situation that’s weighing on my heart and I’m praying for George and trying to love him better and at the same time working on forgiveness towards Mike. He meant well when he ministered to George and offered to mentor him and got busy, but his obvious aggravation towards some unlovable ways of George led him back away from George and George is left a baby Christian in need of good quality Christian friends. Mike can learn through George how to love like Jesus when at times his flesh gets in the way.
George visited the town my family and I used to live in the other day during it’s annual yard sale weekend. This is three counties away from where I live now. Thousands of people visit the town during the long weekend full of a town full of garage and yard sales and a park full of fair food. Who does George run into in that big group of people three counties away? Mike. What are the odds? I think maybe it may be God’s small voice whispering to Mike about his attitude towards George and his offer of friendship, and to George about giving Mike another chance.
Please pray for the men I love if you would. I was reading my devotions the other day and came upon this devotional I share with you today. It expresses things a lot better than I can 🙂
It is been my experience that I am rarely able to “fix” the behavior of challenging people in my life. Responding with emotion to difficult people never produces long-lasting change. I believe that perhaps God has placed you in that difficult person’s life not to moderate their irregular behavior, but to pray for them. It is a simple equation that God gives us to deal with those irritable and troublesome hunks of humanity: Love + Prayer = Victory.
God’s strategy rarely involves emotion but always has liberal doses of love and prayer mixed together for a victorious conclusion. God did not create you to be some whirling dervish who uses words to jab, hurt and control people. God created you to be a man or a woman who was more committed to Kingdom than to self. Difficult people can run away from your words, but they can never escape your prayers. We cannot and must not have a disconnect between what we believe and how we treat others, no matter how difficult they may be.
There is an anecdote for bitterness and wrath; it’s called kindness. There is a way to overcome anger and clamor; it’s known as being tenderhearted. There is also a way to conquer slander; it’s recognized as forgiveness.
It takes a mature, Godly Christian to bless the persecutors in life. We bless with our tongues, with our heart attitudes, with our emotions and with our actions. Some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, but Carol, you don’t know my Aunt Matilda! She is unlovable in every way imaginable!” You may not want to hear my response to your Aunt Matilda scenario but here it is, Somebody loves your Aunt Matilda and His name is God, so start acting like your Dad!
We are all unlovable in some way, aren’t we? We all can become prickly, outspoken and contentious from time to time, but I believe that the reason most of us are unlovable is because at our very core we are crying out to be loved. There will be many times in life when your decision to love a porcupine will disarm them completely.
If you refuse to forgive and then bless the difficult people in your life, you are in danger of becoming a difficult person. The equation is no-fail and will guarantee your eventual victory:
Love + Prayer = Victory!
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV http://bible.com/59/eph.4.29-32.ESV
” Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
–Romans 12:9-18 ESV http://bible.com/59/rom.12.9-18.ESV