Steps toward Love

Have you ever felt like some people are extremely hard to love?

I’m guessing most of you can think of at least one person like that (if not, just give it a few years!)

Several days ago, I started reading a really good book by Max Lucado called A Love Worth Giving, and already a few quotes have jumped out at me:

“‘I’m supposed to love my neighbor? Okay….I will.’ So we try. Teeth clinched. Jaw firm….”

“Could it be we are missing a step? Could it be that the first step of love is not toward them but toward Him?…”

Lucado talks about how we can’t give what we don’t have, but that God makes love available to us through Christ.

“We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.” Ephesians 5:1,2

So, I was thinking:

I’ve discovered in life that God keeps pushing me to love even those people that are about as easy to love as a porcupine. It’s not just hard; it’s impossible!

But would God really tell us to do something that is impossible?

Yes and no. It may be impossible for us to do in our own strength, but it’s not impossible to do when we are daily drawing near to God and walking in His power!

A few years ago, after being verbally attacked by one of these hard-to-love people, I sat down in shock with my Bible and opened up to the Sermon on the Mount.

“Love your enemies,” said Jesus.

“Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27, 28  NASB

The Lord began showing me then, that the only way we can do those things with a good attitude is to draw near to Him, and let His Holy Spirit do it supernaturally through us.

So, what kind of steps can we take to move in the direction of obedience to Jesus’ command?

  1. We must recognize that our failure to obey these commands has grieved God, and we need to go to Him for forgiveness.
  2. If we have not already done so, we need to understand and believe that Jesus died in our place to pay for the pardon for our sins. God is offering you a pardon as a priceless gift; but you must receive it in order to be set free.
  3. Realize and believe that God’s love for you is amazingly lavish; He went to great lengths to give you new life, a fresh start. You are of great value to Him!
  4. Draw near to God daily by reading the Bible and talking to Him about what you read there.
  5. Recognize that, truth be told, we all have our hard-to-love moments.
  6. Recognize that God loves that porcupine-like person just as much as He loves you. He wants to set them free of their sin just as He did for you.
  7. Pray for that person that God would bless them with knowledge of Him, with faith, and with the ability to forsake their sin. Pray in Jesus’ name that He would set them free from their spiritual oppression and soften their heart. Don’t you believe God can do the impossible?
  8. Ask the Lord to help you see them from His point of view.
  9. Admit to God that you don’t really want to love them, and ask Him to fix your want-er.
  10. When He brings something to mind that you can do to show them kindness, ask Him for help, and just do it!

I hope these tips will be helpful for you. This list is not exhaustive.

Can you think of any more tips? If so, please share in the comments!

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30 thoughts on “Steps toward Love

  1. This is something I really need to meditate on. My best friend has a friend that I disapprove of. So it is very hard for me to love her friend. And sometimes to love my best friend (Connie – fictitious name). She’s hurt me so many times and I keep forgiving her and go back for more! Anyway, Tammy (also fictitious) shows up (or enters into the picture and Connie turns into this hateful person towards me. My husband doesn’t care how much I love her or what hold she has on me, and neither do I, however I do love her very much. Our friendship is truly physically harmful to me and I need out of the hold, but I don’t know how. I must pray about this. In the meantime, I have an issue with her that needs closure.

    Please pray for me that God will show me the way and time in which to do and say the right things. Thank you for your affirmation today. I believe God is telling me it’s time to begin the end. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
    – ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    http://bible.com/111/eph.4.32.niv“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.””
    – ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    http://bible.com/111/jos.1.9.niv

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Praying with you, dear sister, that God will give you the closure that you need as well as the wisdom and courage to do whatever He wants you to do.
      Remember to love God above all else! What He says about you is the only word that should count. Listening to the words of those who speak opinions that are not in accordance with what He says about you is not His will for you. He wants to build you up in Him, not to tear you down. I’ve written another post on paper that I’ll try to get on the blog soon that I think you will find helpful as well. Keep in His word, and watch what great things He can and will do for you!

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    2. I just wanted to add to the already amazing support and encouragement given 🙂 that when I have had toxic friendships in the past, God always gave me what Christ taught. Not to throw pearls to swine and let them be trampled. There comes a time when you have done all you can do, if the people around you are aware of your pain and they still can’t try to be nicer and change, shake off the dust my friend. That’s what He taught me. I took a long time for me to get out of some friendships but I was solely there to only comfort them, give advice never taken, and just be there for them. But I had no support. That’s when the scripture started speaking to me and I knew I could walk away and work on forgiving.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I believe it! 🙂
      I prayed this prayer of the Apostle Paul for you, sister, after you wrote that this is where your Bible opened up.
      The Lord will help you. He is even now working for you! He has the wisdom and the power to help you, and He loves you very much!

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  2. I have a couple of these people in my life. What helps me is to understand that “hurt people hurt people.” And they don’t know better. But for the grace of God….. there go I. Praying for them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Char, I agree that many hurt people hurt people, and sometimes they may not realize that they are doing it, or perhaps some of them do but don’t know how to overcome those tendencies. Unfortunately, I think it’s more complicated than that.
      At some point, many of them, especially those who have professed to be Christians for years, DO know better, but they choose to continue in their bad habits. Hurt people have hurt me and others of our readers, and God helps us through His word to know better. By God’s grace, we try not to hurt people. They need to be shown love just as we need to know we are loved and valued.
      Thank you for your prayers! They are certainly needed and appreciated. ☺

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      1. Yes, I totally oversimplified the issue. In dealing with difficult people, it is so hard to understand how they could create such misery except that they are miserable on a very deep level. I don’t know how else to not be offended by them and love them with God’s grace and His love. But first I have to let go of hurt and that oversimplification works in my head. ;}

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I see. That’s kind of the result I get from asking God to help me see them from His point of view. He sees their sin but is patient with them because they are so valuable to Him. He sees their potential. I’m working on a follow-up post that gives some specific things we can pray for these people so that they can be set free from these tendencies.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Theresa, and knowing the command but not knowing how or forgetting how to obey causes problems, including feelings of guilt, etc. due to our failure to love. I’m so glad God’s mercies are new every morning and that He teaches us as we go along. May the Lord help us to remember that He is able to help us obey every single command He has given us.

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    1. Thanks for the book recommendation, Anita! I’m putting it on my wish list! Maybe I’ll get it for Mother’s Day! 🙂
      You’re welcome for the tips. Yeah, that first one! It’s so easy to play the blame game, but if we had no pride and self-centeredness, etc., mean things that people say wouldn’t bother us so much. We all have our weaknesses.

      Blessings, sister! 🙂

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  3. I really enjoyed this 🙂 I don’t think I could add any tips. My pastor one summer did a Bible Study on taking a pie to our enemy, sometimes a literal pie. Trying to make a peace offering or getting to know someone. I always think of that.

    I’m going to add this post to the community spotlight for May. I know this post wasn’t written in May, but it spoke to me in May. 🙂 I’m also going to add this post to my Pinterest board of Christian bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, T. R.! I really appreciate it!! ❤
      Yes, about the pie, that's a good idea! With one of these people, I've tried several kind gestures, and the person always refuses them. The only kind gesture she has accepted was when her dog or a dog she was taking care of has escaped, and I helped her rescue them. She seems to appreciate that for a few days, then she's back to same ole same ole. Only God can change her heart. But He requires that I keep on praying for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister dropped by this weekend. I got to your blog. We burst out laughing when I read.

    “I’ve discovered in life that God keeps pushing me to love even those people that are about as easy to love as a porcupine. It’s not just hard; it’s impossible!”

    True sometimes seems impossible but with God all things are possible

    Liked by 1 person

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