Let’s be honest, there some people who are just really hard to be around. They are just hard to love. It has nothing to do with the way that they dress. It doesn’t matter how much money they make. I’m not talking about their social standing… some people have a terrible disposition. You know people like this- they are beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to:
- love our neighbor as ourselves- Matthew 19:19
- love our enemies- Luke 6:27
- pray for those who persecute us- Matthew 5:44
- be friendly to sinners- Luke 7:34
- rejoice when sinners come to Jesus- Luke 15:10
How do you do that? How do you love people who are not lovely? Here’s a couple of ideas…
Look at the soul of the problem
The problem with the soul is almost always, the soul of the problem. In other words, people who are ugly on the inside, usually have a problem at the soul level. That soul level problem shows up in their personality or in their character (Matthew 15:17-18).
When Jesus looked at people he looked past the personality and focused on the soul. He saw sinners, thieves, and liars as the type of people that he wanted to be around. When asked why does he hang around with people like this in Luke 5:30 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
Jesus made it clear, his mission was to go to people who were sick and sinners. He didn’t spend the majority of his time with good people, he didn’t hang around with the religious people, he devoted his time to people messed up on the inside. I generally don’t hang around with sick people because I don’t want to become sick myself. This is not how Jesus lived. This is not how Jesus would have his people to live!
Start a love revolution
Jesus’s people are supposed to live like him. We’re supposed to love those who he loved. We’re supposed to serve those whom he served (Matthew 20:28). And this is where it gets hard, because I don’t always like hanging around with the kind of people that Jesus did. In fact, I find myself avoiding the kind of people that Jesus hung around with.
Jesus prayed for Christians- that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:23). Let that statement sink in for just a minute… Jesus says that the world will know him as Savior when his people start to love one another! In other words, it’s our love that should show the way. The way that we love others- especially other brothers and sisters of the faith- is an undeniable demonstration that Jesus is real. So how well do you love the unlovely? How often do you serve those who can’t return the favor? How often do you hang out with people that are mean, difficult, or cantankerous?