Heather Hetchler is a Come With Me study leader. She’s also a talented writer and speaker and in ministry to stepmoms.
Her invitation is to love like Jesus — yep, that’s what she said! It isn’t an easy invitation, but every invitation has a destination. Heather’s is taking her closer to Christ. Let’s see what Heather has to say about loving difficult people, even when you don’t want to. ~ Suzie
Love them like I love you
When my copy of Come With Me arrived, I dove right in. Little did I know that with each turn of the page God would begin to turn me inside out.
I admit my life is messy by the world’s standards. I embrace this truth and am grateful for a God who turns messes into a message. I’m a wife (and an ex-wife), a mom and full-time stepmom. I do life with a lot of people!
Through the first three chapters of Come With Me, I sensed God whispering ways I could go deeper. I obeyed.
Then I came to Chapter Four. God’s whisper got louder.
“Loving difficult people can be a struggle,” writes Suzie. “Let’s take it deeper, because that’s where Jesus leads the disciples. He asks the disciples to love difficult people — because difficult people matter to God.”
Then it happened — God placed a name on my heart.
I quickly responded, “God, I love everyone. I serve at Church. I’m the first person to make a meal for a new mom. I donate to charity. I pray for the hurting. I don’t unfriend people with different political views.”
God pressed in deeper. I sensed He wasn’t asking me if I loved people different from me. He was asking me if I love the people I do life with.
I continued reading.
Suzie shared a story about a little girl standing in the freezing cold with nothing to protect her from the elements. My heart went out to this girl. Had she been standing on my porch I would open the door and bring her in from the cold.
That’s when God spoke to my soul.
“Heather, you love the unloveable — those who have no chance of hurting you personally. But what about those who hurt you? Will you bring them in from the cold? Will you warm them with MY love?”
“I can’t go there right now. You don’t know the pain they’ve caused me,” I cried out.
As I said those words, I realized how ridiculous they sounded.
I felt a deep pressing in. “Do you show love?” I sensed Him asking.
Fighting back the tears I called out “but God, you don’t know how hard it is to love them. You know I don’t mistreat them.”
“Do you love them?” He asked.
“I’m nice to them. I pray for them.”
“But do you show My love to them?” God repeated.
“They’ve hurt me over and over again,” I answered.
“Love them like I love you,” He whispered.
“But God I can’t take it.”
His whisper filled my soul, “You can’t take it. I can.”
I began to weep. God was telling me to leave it at the foot of the cross.
God was asking to let Him take the pain and allow Him to work in their heart and He would work in mine. #ComeWithMe @cafeSmom @suzanneeller
I didn’t want to go where He was asking me. It meant unprotecting my heart. I had learned how to do life with this person without getting hurt and His call meant becoming vulnerable to pain. I didn’t want to go yet I knew I would find freedom in following where He leads.
God doesn’t want me to just get through life; He wants me to live it through Him.
Is it possible the paralyzing fear that kept me from opening up to love someone who might not love me back could be the same thing holding them back?
The deeper I went with God to show love to this unloveable person — the deeper He drenched me in His love.
Is there a difficult person knocking on your door?
Perhaps it is a parent, a child or a co-worker. For some, it may be a spouse.
Will you open the door with God’s love and introduce them to a Savior who will love them in the cold?
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And, just for fun.
May I pray with you today as we wrap up this week’s study?
Lord Jesus, you call us to walk with you daily, hear your voice, and respond. Sometimes that it joy filled and easy, and at other times you lead us away from feelings to healthy and loving actions. Sometimes you lead us away from discouragement to embrace hope. Sometimes you chisel that wall we’ve built and you call us out of our comfort zone to impact the world around us. Thank you for your example. Thank you for loving us in the midst of our most unloveable ways. Thank you for changing hearts and redirecting our steps to go wherever you lead, in Jesus’ name, amen.