I have to be honest. There are people in my life I find very difficult to love. I’m ashamed of it because love is a big deal to me. I want to be loved. I want to give love. There is not just one category of people that are difficult to love. Sometimes I think it would be easier if there were. It ranges from the obvious to those who have hurt me, to those who are just different, to those who are genuinely good people, but they are selfish, insincere, out for number one, etc. It sounds like I have a problem. I do. When I think from a place of ministry and how I want to make others feel, I want to give them love. I believe in it! In my flesh I struggle to love back when I feel there are those who tell me they love me, but are disinterested in me because their actions don’t match up with what they say. It’s hard to trust.
I remember being loved and wanted as a kid. My friends said they loved me. I felt a belonging in their lives…until I didn’t. I can recall times I returned to school from the weekend, only to discover I was left out of their birthday parties, not included in their sleepovers, not picked for their “team”.
As adults, don’t we feel like that? The social media world magnifies those feelings of being unloved when we see pictures of events where we weren’t invited, or the times we walk into a restaurant and see “our” friends out with our other friends, and we were left out. Simple scenarios of people just sharing life, but we feel unloved, unwanted. Every life seems better than ours through the glass of the screen. Our life becomes less about how we are making others feel and more about how we’re made to feel. I get hung up on that. How about you?
When we get caught up in the love we feel we’re not getting, we simply aren’t giving the love away like we should.
To tip the tables on that, I simply need to get caught up in how God loves me. 1 John 4:19-21(ESV) says,
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Simply? It really is easier said than done, right? In those moments I described above when we feel less than, why do I even want to give more? Because of the love HE has for me. I can so get caught up in THAT! You? To be loved by the One we cannot see overwhelms me because He loves me more than anything! He feels the same for you. He says, “Love me first and your love for others will be the REAL thing!” We can manufacture that love even as Christ-followers. We say we love as He does, but it often comes off just real enough to get by because we are unwilling to drop our pride. Our “love” begins to take on tones of jealousy, pride, self-centeredness, bitterness and a lack of truly being for one another. He is our starting place. When we don’t always get it right, the starting place never changes. Wrap your mind and heart around the love of Christ. Let Him blow your mind with His love so that you can love others! And if no one has told you or shown you lately, know that YOU ARE LOVED!