Loving the unlovable

I hopped on the bus at 2:07 pm as I normally do and was greeted by a very unpleasant face. This was obviously not the driver I was accustomed to; there was no familiarity, no pleasantness just a sour attitude from a crude person.

I quickly took my seat and mechanically popped in my earphones, occasionally eyeing the new bus driver through the rear view mirror. 

Up ahead, I could see a family of four standing a short distance away from the bus stop; a man, a woman and 2 small children waiting in the cold. They had obviously mistaken the sign indicating that the bus stop was nearby for the actual bus stop. Understandably so, both signs are almost identical. 

As the bus approached them they signaled the driver to stop and stepped closer to the road in preparation to board the bus.  But the driver simply slowed down, pointed ahead to the actual bus stop and continued driving.

Immediately I felt a surge of anger in my chest. I was beside myself with rage and disbelief. I thought of the family left in the cold and the fact that they would have to wait an hour for the next bus. What bothered me most of all was that the driver did not even consider the two small children.

How could someone be so heartless? 

I could see the question on each passenger’s face as we all glanced around for confirmation. No-one said a word but I was determined to let this woman know what I thought of her.

As my heart knotted even tighter with anger, I asked God how He could ask me to love someone like this. This woman was not worthy of my affection, she deserved the same measure of heartlessness that she dealt.  I would reserve my love for sick people, elderly people, and babies…the innocent. Not this woman I thought. 

But I heard a voice say “Just do it”.

I began to reason with God, trying to get him to see that what he asked of me was unrealistic and unfair but I realized there was no way out of what I had to do.

I imagine that these are the very things that will potentially cause us to miss the mark. The presence of hatred, however “justifiable” is still against the will of God. We may have a reason to be angry but we never have a right to hate.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus instructs us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, He did not specify what kind of neighbor we must love because there should be no criteria or special circumstances surrounding who we love. Your neighbour is anyone you come in contact with, not just the good but also the bad and the ugly.

Jesus talks about how far our love must reach; that it must stretch beyond who loves us and touch even those who despise us. He also pointed out that if we are kind only to those who are first kind to us, it is no great accomplishment because even the unsavory characters of this world can repay a favour. (Matthew 5:46)

How easy it is to freely love people who are considered good; the ones who compliment us or those who are always wearing a smile. Anyone can genuinely appreciate an inviting personality or a sweet countenance. But in order to be true followers of Christ, we must learn to love even the ones that make it difficult to love them and we must do it without expecting any kindness in return.

Yes, Jesus is telling us to love the boss who wants maximum work for minimum pay, that co-worker who caused you to lose your well-deserved promotion, that friend who gossiped about you or that family member who constantly belittles you.

If we can respond in a Christ-like manner when we are met with unkindness, it benefits us  just as much as the person we extend kindness to. Jesus knows it is not an easy task but He wants us to know that at the end of the day, our reward will be great and we don’t have to do it alone. 

Ask God to fill your heart with love even for the unlovable; pray for them and ask God to bless them. Just as Christ loves us unconditionally so must we love others. Therein lies your victory and peace.

So do yourself a favour and love! 

 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”

 Luke 6:35

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