"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Romans 15:13).
“Observe how Christ loved us…Love like that” (Ephesians 5:2).
It is simply HARD to love everyone, especially those we consider “difficult” or who have opposing ideas to ours! Every person is battling something, and everyone has a background and a story. The human condition and our imperfections are not a justification for withholding love and compassion from others. We are called to love like Jesus, regardless of circumstance. That doesn’t mean we have to be a doormat in conflict, but we must remember that Jesus created every single person on this earth AND died for them as He died for us.
Looking back to Jesus’s encounter with Zacchaeus, we see an amazing expression of His love. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and highly disliked by others. Yet, Jesus singled him out from the crowd and conveyed that He wanted to get to know him. Jesus knew love could transform the heart of Zacchaeus, so He gave of Himself and spent the day with him. Though many observers were upset by this attention as they focused on Zacchaues’ flaws, Jesus saw a favorable opportunity for life change. Jesus loved him with the same transcendent, enduring love He has for each one of us!
Not everyone will be our best friend. At times, we will be on the opposite end of the spectrum of our beliefs and things in common with people. But Jesus taught and modeled for us to walk the extra mile for them, and even for our enemies. We are to love and pray for them. Though it may seem outrageous in our limited scope of understanding how this is possible, Romans 5:5 assures us we are able “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” HE helps us get as close as possible to following His perfect example. Opening our hearts to His Spirit allows God to change our thinking toward others. Paul said in Romans 12:1-2, “You’ll be changed from the inside out…God brings out the best in you.” We want Jesus to shine through us as we deal with other people so EVERYONE can experience the touch of His grace!
Call to Action: Focus on how we can be more patient and loving to people, seeing even difficult moments as opportunities to witness to others about Jesus. We are to be the “light of the world…letting our good deeds shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise our Heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-15).
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
Prayer: Father in Heaven, Your name is lifted high today! We thank You for all You’ve done for us. We ask, Lord, that You help us love as You do. Open our hearts and give us the patience to handle all kinds of people. We want MORE of You and LESS of us. Give us the ears to listen and the words to speak so that we can be a witness for You to others! In Your name, we pray, Amen!
Final Thought: Learning to love difficult people helps us change and to grow in humility. God can use these experiences to shape us into being more like Jesus.
Love Like Jesus (Even the Difficult People)
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8).
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24- 26).
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
“God will let you laugh again; you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy” (Job 8:20).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).