Read Day #19 of Come With Me Devotional: Scallywags
Today’s guest blog post is written by Tina Gibson. She’s a blogger, speaker, and a Community Team leader here at Living Free Together Ministries. Loving people when they don’t deserve it isn’t for the weak at heart, and yet it’s a powerful invitation. Tina shares her story with you today. ~ Suzie
She didn’t like me.
I was new and excited about my first team meeting. I arrived in the room early and had my choice of a dozen or so empty seats around the long table. I chose one in the middle and sat down, but before I could get too comfortable, I felt a tap my shoulder.
“You’re in my seat.”
It was a deer in the headlights moment. “You’re in MY seat,” she announced again.
I quickly apologized and moved my notebook and myself over to the next chair.
“That is so-and-so’s seat,” she continued, as she pointed to every single chair, naming each forthcoming occupant along with their title. Then, she looked back at me and tilted her head to a seat at the other end of the table.
The opposite end of everyone else.
I can’t tell you much about the meeting, but I can tell you how I felt.
There was no way we were ever going to be friends.
Perhaps a familiar face just came to mind. Difficult people tend to pop up in all areas of our lives, don’t they? I know how you feel.
So does Jesus.
Jesus dealt with difficult people.
In today’s devotional, we find Jesus teaching to a crowd. Some are there because they love him and others because they don’t. Yet, that doesn’t stop Jesus from sharing his message. He’s not there to receive love from the crowd.He’s there to give love from the Father.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
Loving my co-worker was the farthest thing from my mind that day, and those that followed. It was much easier to grumble about her, avoid her path, and let her phone calls go into voicemail. But, my Heavenly Father invited me to love her. So, with great hesitation, I changed my strategy.When we are asked to love difficult people, consider that we are sometimes the difficult one.… Click To Tweet
I started to acknowledged her without expectation. I asked about her day with genuine interest. I met her countenance with a smile. Nothing happened…at first. There were days when I thought “I am so done.”
But God wasn’t.
Eventually, she seemed to take notice in a curious “are you for real?” sort of way. One day I saw her in the hallway and her smirk slowly transformed into a smile. She said “hello.”
It was a turning point.
On my last day, she gave me a big hug. Those same eyes, that had once avoided mine, were now filled with tears. As I continued to show His supernatural love, day after day, week after week, a funny thing happened.
My chore turned into a choice that changed me.
When we love like our Father, broken becomes new.
When we love like our Father, we become new.
When we love like our Father, all things become new.
There is freedom in love. For the receiver, yes, but even more for the giver. Like me. Like us. Our invitation to love others includes loving the difficult ones as well. The ones who don’t love us back. Especially the ones who don’t love us back.
What does that look like?
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 13:4-8a NIV
- LISTEN – for Love is patient.
- SUPPORT – for Love is kind.
- EMPATHIZE – for Love does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud.
- ENCOURAGE – for Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.
- FORGIVE – for Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
- PRAY – for Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.
- COURAGEOUS – for Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- LOVE – for Love never fails.
God loved us first. He loves us best. We don’t keep that love to ourselves, but instead, live it for the world to see. It’s about his kingdom, not ours. It’s about his glory, not ours. As we love his way, we rediscover what love looks like . . . all over again.
21 Life Changing Invitations as We Walk With Jesus
Invitation #19: To love difficult people
We can place parameters on love. I’ll love you if you are always kind. I’ll love you if you don’t hurt my heart. I’ll love you if you never make a mistake.
Q: Describe a parameter you may put on love (now or in the past)?
Q: Describe a parameter someone else has put on loving you, and how it feels.
This is not an invitation to be abused or to place yourself or someone else in harm’s way. That’s an important distinction as we talk about loving difficult people. But that’s not usually our greatest struggle. When someone hurts our heart, we are tempted to pull away, retaliate, build a wall, or treat them in the same way.
Q: If your love is met with a rebuff, has love failed? Why or why not.
Giveaway and get to know Tina Gibson
Tina is giving away a beautiful gift, the Petite Hearts Connected Pendant. She’s selecting a winner from one person who comments on either this blog post or on her blog.
Pssst, I’d comment on both!