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Two weeks ago, I wrote about boosting your faith in difficult seasons. Then last week, I wrote about finding hope even when it seems like there is none. And today, we’re rounding out this series with a post about LOVE.
What does LOVE mean to you?
A few weeks ago, a blogger I follow—Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com—posted this great call to action on her Instagram. Crystal had just read Everybody, Always by Bob Goff, and she said the one thing that really impacted her most, was this quote:
“If following Jesus doesn’t lead you to the poor, the hungry, and the isolated, you’re not following Jesus.”
Wow. Does that hit you the same way it did me?
I started out this year seeking to love more, and this quote is really challenging me to take things to a whole new level.
After some prayer and reflection, it occurred to me that this description of “the poor, hungry, and isolated” doesn’t only refer to people who are physically poor or hungry. I think it also refers at least as much to people who are poor in spirit, hungry for Jesus, and isolated from God—regardless of their financial or social status.
I don’t know about you, but I know there are many people like that right in my backyard. We don’t have to go on a mission trip to a third-world country to encounter them. They’re right across the table, in the next cubicle, or down the street.
So what do we do? As Crystal suggests, we lean in. We get to know people on a deeper level, we don’t judge or run from their troubles, and we love them where they’re at—to the best of our ability.
5 Ways to Love the Hard People
Quite often, the people who are poorest in spirit, are the ones that are hardest to love. They’re the people who push our buttons, or the ones who are so broken they make us uncomfortable. And especially in those cases, it can be tempting to just not even try to love them.
In my retail job, I encounter a wide variety of folks. And it’s a lot easier to be kind to the ones who are nice to me, than the ones who are rude. C’mon, I know you can relate. Even if you smile and drip sugar on them, you might still be just wishing they would go away.
When somebody is grumpy, intimidating, or even just neutral and straight-faced, I find that it’s harder to show them love. This is definitely something I’m working on improving!
These are some things that are helping me:
- Always fill yourself up on God’s love, first! Fill your cup with Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. The more I’m mindful of God’s great mercy and love for you and me, and every person I encounter, the more I can show them love even when I don’t feel like it.
- Find out their story! Each of us has a broken road of some sort that led us to where we are. One thing that’s really been helping me lately, is to find out more about each person. Even if all I can do is listen and offer sympathy or encouragement, that is still something. And the bonus is, once we know their story, it becomes so much easier to understand why they are behaving a certain way.
- Set aside your own problems, to focus on theirs. Sometimes I find myself saying in my mind “But, nobody is asking me about my life”, even though I ask others about theirs. That’s okay though! I can love on others (say, at work), and then go pray about it to Jesus. And then, I go spend time with the family and friends that I know will care (and ask) about what’s going on with me.
- Throw all your stereotypes and judgements about appearance out the window! This is another thing I’m trying to do a lot more lately. Just because someone is dressed a certain way, doesn’t mean squat. They may seem to be this or that, or behave to fit a certain stereotype, but I shouldn’t assume that’s actually the case. I want to clear my mind of any snap judgements, and just ask questions and listen.
- Be kind, and pray for them! When someone is being a pill, I might not be able to diffuse the situation, or help them, or change their attitude. But what I can always do, is be as kind and gentle as possible towards them, and pray for them. Whatever we do, we can always always pray for them! ‘Lord, have mercy on this person. Whatever has caused them to behave this way, please heal that hurt, and meet that need. Show them how much you love them, and that they’re never too far gone to receive your saving grace and forgiveness.’
Is any of this helpful to you? If you want to tell your story, or share your own tips for loving difficult people, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. ❤
Hi! Thank you so much for visiting Divine Creative Love. I’m a Jesus-lovin’ girl, lettering artist, designer, and general creative-at-heart. And, I have narcolepsy. I blog about faith in God, overcoming challenges, and creative topics such as Bible journaling. If you’re new here, be sure and subscribe to my list so you won’t miss anything!