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Loving the Un-Lovely

August 17, 2011

One of the greatest examples I remember, in observing how to deal with difficult people, is that of my grandmother. So many things I say often remind me, laughingly, of how much she taught me – and I believe that more is “caught” than “taught”. I guess the greatest thing that I learned from her is the thing she always said when folks didn’t do right by others. To which she would comment, “If they can live with it, we can live without it.” That has set me free on so many occasions when I felt that someone should have or should not have done a certain thing.

I want to have the mind of Christ when I consider how I should act or “respond” toward others. That is the prayer that never fails me – when I am in tune enough to remember to pray it. Taking it one step further, how can we say we love God if we have ill or unloving feelings toward another?

Loving those who are difficult is perhaps the greatest challenge when it comes to allowing God to channel His love through us. Most have experienced a family member or someone we see on a routine basis, at work or in our neighborhood, that just seem to be filled with anger and unkindness.

An effort toward reconciliation may be in not allowing a damaged or broken relationship to linger. Sometimes, this is impossible. When we have done all we can, we may have to give it up and pray for God to do the healing work. It may be that we’ve learned that doing more and being “nicer” doesn’t bring about the change required to sustain a healthy relationship. Sometimes, it may have very little to do with us and we may only hinder the process by being a constant perceived “challenge” in the troubled person’s life.

We can relinquish them into God’s hands, realizing that He wants “unlovely” people to know Him too, so they can learn the character needed to become a loving person. I can remember many things I said or did that had to be very hurtful to my grandmother, but her love mixed with appropriate confrontation and boundaries, were the constants in my life that won me over. And, they are still the major influence in my life today, some 30 years later.

I am so glad that my knowledge of God and His mercy has changed over the years through a personal relationship with Him. I am now able to understand His love, grace and mercy, toward me, when I was “unlovely” and “un-loving” in my ways. And when I deal with the ones who are hard to love, I pray to be reminded of how far God had to reach down to touch my heart.

I am most thankful, that, in all my stubbornness, some of which I still struggle with today, He never gave up on me. I do recognize that the best thing He ever did, was to allow me to bear the consequences of my choices. It was definitely the shortest path to helping me realize that I was headed in the wrong direction.

And now, my prayer is that as a result of His patience toward me, I might recognize the need in others who may seem “un-lovely”, and, be reminded that I, too, am still a “work in process”!

Sheri Geyer is a Certified Life & Financial Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom
Visit me at Simple Wisdom for Living

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