How is it possible to love such difficult people!
Posted on December 16, 2011 by Daniel Duval, One of Thousands of Christian Coaches on Noomii.
Is it possible to love others that can't seem to stop hurting us? Does the Bible offer any wisdom on this?
Love is hard. Why? It is because people give us every reason not to love them. They fail us. They disappoint us. They don’t listen to us, lose all their money, and then call us asking for a “loan” we know they won’t pay back. However, Jesus gives us two commandments that form the foundation of the new covenant.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)So there you have it. If we can’t love others we break 50% of everything God told us to do. What a bummer right? Let’s be real about it though. What about that time when we really tried as hard as we could to love someone… to be there for them… to be patient. Then one year, two years, five years went by with no fruit. There must be a point where we give up right! This is where wisdom comes in. We are not called to love others with our own love. Our own love is limited, and it will fail. In Ephesians 4:2 Paul (the author of Ephesians)exhorts us “forbear one another in love.” The word translated forbear literally means put up with. Go figure. How do we put up with others? With Agape! Agape is the Greek word that is translated as love. Now we are going to dive a bit deeper and understand this sometimes enigmatic “love” the Bible is always talking about. The Apostle Paul explains to us that we do not naturally have agape. We live in a three-dimensional world. Everything natural to this world and our existence is based on three dimensions. When Paul explains agape he gives us a unique revelation. It has four dimensions! This means that it comes from another dimension because ours cannot naturally produce it. As it is written:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Isn’t it interesting that Paul explains to us exactly where the love necessary to put of with others comes from? Notice that agape has breadth, length, depth, and height. This is four dimensions. How does it get in us? It comes from heaven, flows through our spirit and comes into our heart. In effect, if we have gotten into the trap of trying to love our difficult spouse, kids, and in-laws in our own power we’ve missed the boat!
This passage says something very interesting. It says that Christ must dwell in our hearts by faith. When we receive salvation (the born-again experience of receiving Jesus) it is a spiritual event. After this happens, it becomes possible for Christ to dwell in our hearts. The spirit and the heart are two separate components of our invisible aspect. The heart is our subconscious. The word dwell means to house permanently. This does not happen automatically in our heart, and like the Apostle tells us, this requires faith.
Not many people have been taught how our invisible aspect works. Without bringing in a boatload of scripture and deep study I’m just going to give you the basics. The human spirit that has received Jesus as Lord and Savior becomes like a pipe with one end in heaven. God puts what is in heaven into this pipe and it flows into the earth. At the other end of this pipe is the heart. The heart is the gateway between the spirit and the soul. It can only let what is coming from heaven through if the soul (mind, will, and emotions) is in agreement with these things. When Christ is dwelling in our heart by faith it becomes possible for the blessings (including agape) that are coming from heaven to have an impact on our lives. You have to believe that it is possible to love others that are seemingly unlovable before you actually do it.
With this said, I have good news for you! By the grace of God you can do it! God’s grace is His empowerment in our lives to do what is impossible for us. Many of us have run into major problems when it comes to loving others. We frankly want to give up. We want to walk away (maybe even run!). We want to lay down the law and cut them off. They deserve it right? However, the Bible says His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Simply living life around other people requires us to put up with each other. Fortunately we are supposed to use God’s love, not our own to do it. This makes the impossible possible. Now I’m going to give you the atomic weapon—so to speak. This is the simple prayer that will empower you to do the impossible—love the jerks! When you read it, you may be confused at how simple it really is. That’s okay, God made it that way. Just keep in mind that it should be prayed regularly for some time. Now for all those people you know you need to love say the following:
“Father, I thank you that I have access to your throne and your love. By grace I receive your love by faith. I receive your wisdom to apply this love to others in my life. I pray that I would be strengthened with might by your Spirit in my inner man so that Christ can dwell in my heart by faith, making the impossible possible. Thank you in advance for answering my prayer. I say this in Jesus’ name, amen.”