Written By: Hannah Kittle
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” “Treat others like you want to be treated.” It’s some of the most iconic verses in the Bible and among the most quoted. It seems like common sense that we treat others like we want to be treated, right? But what about that girl who backstabbed us and told others what we told them in private or that guy who dumped you over a text and now is dating someone a week later? Do we have to treat them like we treat our family, best friends, friends, co-workers, and people in general? Do we still have to respect them and go the extra mile and show them love? Dear friend, I know the pain, I know the struggle, I know the hurdles, but I can tell you from experience that the answer is yes. We are called to love those who back stabbed us, lied about or to us, cheated on us, broke up with us, and hurt us. Why? Because the same God that calls us to love others even though they hurt us is the same God that died to save us despite the immense hurt we caused to Him.
So how do we love someone, anyone, even including those who have hurt us? The absolute best example we have is in the Bible. The example is that of Jesus the night He was betrayed and the way He treated Judas. Since He is God, He knew ahead of time, before time in fact, that Judas would betray Him. Yet, that night He still loved Judas and showed him that love by giving him the piece of bread dipped in sop that is usually given to the honored friend. He even washed his feet when they first entered the room for the Last Supper. Then, in the garden He didn’t fight, accuse, or lash out at anyone, much less Judas who had obviously been the one who betrayed Him. Instead He looked at Him and said, “Will you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” That is the kind of love that caused Jesus to go to the cross willingly and suffer the abuse of His tormentors. He did this out of ultimate love.
There’s a passage of Scripture that says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) and also “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) We will not have to carry the burden and task alone of having to love the unlovable without help. We are promised divine help by the Holy Spirit to do the impossible. The temptation is to give up and say that it’s no use and it isn’t worth it.
To love isn’t meant to be a burden, even though our feelings may tell us otherwise. Many times when we’re confronted with this situation, we allow our feelings to dictate the situation. Our feelings are often good things as they help us to empathize with others which allows us to understand people even better. Sometimes though our feelings aren’t good things to have involved when we’re having to love those who hurt our feelings. Our feelings tend to be reactive rather than responding. A very true phrase is, “react rather than respond.” Sometimes we have to take our feelings and put them aside in order to truly love a person. Sometimes truly loving a person means that we have to care about them, pray for them, and be kind to them even though our hearts are breaking and bleeding.
It often feels like a burden to love someone when we’re broken and hurting, but we’re promised help by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” It may often seem like we can’t bear the heartache and pain. What if I told you that you’re right? What if I told you that outside of divine help you cannot love someone the way that you are called too? God promises us and shows us by example that we will have trials in life. But with every example of a struggle, He shows us the beauty, sustainment, grace, encouragement and love He showers upon us that we are to show others. He will help us in every situation where it feels like it’s mission impossible. “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Philippians 4:13) Saying that a task is impossible with God is akin to saying, “God, I believe that I’m better than You. I believe that I should be God and be ruler of my life and guiding myself.” Without God, everything is impossible, especially loving the unlovable.
When we trust God and rely on Him to help us love people, we will be able to love the unlovable. Mission Impossible? No, instead becomes Mission Possible. Reliance upon God means that we surrender everything to Him and trust that through Him and His strength, wisdom, patience, and love we will be able to be witnesses before the world. Through Him alone we will be able to love those who have hurt us and broken our hearts. He is the Lover of our souls. Not only can He help us love the unlovable, He can love us and give us the ability to love others again. He can take our bruised, bleeding, broken, shattered hearts and not only fix them, but completely restore us and give us a bigger heart to love others.
Sweet friend, I know the pain and struggled of having to love even when It feels like you’re totally shattered and no longer can trust anyone. However, let me tell you that through Him alone, my heart has been restored. The pain isn’t gone yet, but the sting, bitterness, anger, and heartache is being replaced by love and eyes of mercy and grace. My heart has been expanded by my heartache and pain and been given much more love and wisdom to care for others in the way that God wants me too. He can do the same for you too. Go to Him and ask Him to take your pain, bitterness, anger, confusion, heartache, and whatever other negative things are in your heart. He will be able to take those things and exchange the ashes for something beautiful. Trust Him with your heart! He will not fail you!
Hannah Kittle is best described as a sinner saved by grace. She currently is a high school senior taking dual-enrollment classes at two different colleges and is headed to nursing. She has a heart for the unsaved, seeks to serve God by serving others, and desires to shine as a light to others to draw them closer to God. Her two life Bible verses are Joshua 1:9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14a
Hannah loves reading, shopping, and being with people whether it be young or old people. She has a calling upon her heart to serve others and to love others even when it’s tough. She believes that God is calling her into nursing or the medical field in general to best accomplish this purpose. She is waiting and praying for the man that God has for her and her heart’s prayer for her life is that others would see Christ through her, her words, and her actions.