I’ve always tried to love people well, but recently I’ve realized that I mainly focus on loving people who are easy to love. I’m close with my family and friends, and I go out of my way to love them in their specific “love languages”, but there are people that I need to work on loving.
Sometimes I’ll see certain people and I classify them as unsociable, not friendly or someone who doesn’t like me, so I don’t invest in loving them. It’s so easy to write them off, and think that I will never to try to start a relationship with them. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “Love that one friendly neighbour as yourself.” Or “remember to always talk to your best friend.” God knows it’s a given that there will be people you easily love. He reminds us to love the ones who are the most difficult: the people who really get on our nerves, the ones who beg for attention from anyone who will give it, the person who slanders you behind your back. He calls us to “Love your neighbour as yourself” even if that neighbour isn’t the easiest to love.
From Jesus’ perspective, I’m sure the woman at the well wasn’t everyone’s first choice to love, she definitely had stigmas attached to her. First off, she was a Samaritan, so as a Jew, Jesus was breaking boundaries. People probably thought she was an attention seeker, or chased after men. But still, Jesus talked with her like he would anyone else.
“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
John 4:7-9 NLT
I think we forget that love can be displayed in the smallest things sometimes. I know a simple but genuine “how are you?” can make me feel valued. Going out of our way to compliment someone, telling someone we miss them, or sending a quick message to let them know we’re thinking about them can mean the world to a person who doesn’t feel loved.
Love takes effort. Jesus made efforts to love people: He went out of his way to love. He didn’t just wait for people to come to him. He saw that a woman was caught in adultery and she was about to be stoned & then he said the unimaginable:
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:4, 7 NLT
He gets down on our level to show us how loved we are, and then stands up for us, letting everyone know that we’re His. Sometimes loving the seemingly unlovable means making ourselves uncomfortable, going places we usually don’t go & getting dirty.
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
I challenge you to go out of your way to love the “hard-to-love” this week. Ask God to give you a heart for the people who are passed by, and overlooked because of their differences.