Who are the unlovable? They are the family that has broken your heart. They are the friends who have betrayed you. They are the homeless, begging for your money on the corner. They are the co-workers who have taken your promotion or the boss who hates you. They are the people who just cut you off while driving. They are the ones that bullied your child. They are you.
Who are the unlovable? To God, that word doesn’t even exist. There is no one that is unlovable. God does not love the way we do. His love is an action, not a feeling. His love is not based on performance or warm feelings. He is love. God is the author and perfector of all love, and no matter how horrible we are, no matter how bad we act, who we hurt, how we disrespect Him – He will never stop loving us. Oh, how I wish I could say the same for myself.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Matthew 5:46-47
As a child I had a very distant relationship with my parents. I was very hurt by them, and felt very unloved. I felt I was unlovable. Never good enough. As I grew to be older I carried these feelings of hurt and rejection with me into every relationship I had. With boyfriends, friends or even acquaintances. As desperate as I was to be loved, I could not help but to push any and everyone away. It would be too much to bear to be hurt again. My poor broken heart could not take another beating.
I was painfully shy and would never try to talk to others in a social setting, let alone look people in the eye. I felt it would be best to let others come to me to start a conversation. Less chance for rejection that way. With friends and boyfriends, I was easily hurt. It wouldn’t take much for me to feel rejected and unlovable before I was pushing them away as hard as I could. Phrases like “I’m never going to talk to you again.” were a normal part of my life. I mean, if someone was going to hurt me, why should I let them be a part of my life? I didn’t deserve anymore hurt or pain. I couldn’t take anymore hurt or pain.
Thank God for His grace and His divine healing power. Once I came into a relationship with Jesus I began to know love in a completely new way. I just knew I was unlovable, yet here was Jesus, in all His glory, loving me. How could someone so magnificent love someone as unlovable as me? Yet He did, and it was the most amazing thing I had ever felt. Jesus love began to heal my broken heart and beat down spirit. Healing is often a process that takes time though. And I saw myself beginning the have the same relational problems with the new people I was meeting at church as I had in the past. I had the same drive to run away and hide from these people, so that I wouldn’t get hurt.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
God had other plans for me though. Plans to grow me and sing a new song over me, so that I could blossom and grow like a tender young shoot. After months of feeling unlovable in many situations with others at church, I began a new prayer. “God, please help me love others the way you love.” Quite a big prayer for someone who has spent their entire life running from other people. Yet I earnestly desired it with all my heart. I had experienced God’s amazing love, and I wanted to share it. I just didn’t know how.
Jesus took me by the hand and walked with me through it. He began to open my eyes to the little things I did that I could change. Starting with making eye contact and smiling at others. I saw that my smile brought a smile in return and I loved it. Soon I was giving encouraging words to others and praying for them. It made my heart swell with love – just a little piece of love like God has for us. It was wonderful.
I thought I was doing great, but Jesus again, wanted to nurture and grow me, to develop me further into loving others as I had asked. There were still the unlovable, waiting in the wings. It was so easy to love those that smiled back and were uplifted by my encouraging words. But not everyone is going to be easy to love. I had to tackle my disgust at the homeless next. God opened my heart to the unlovable homeless and soon, I was even loving them. Then there were those who had hurt me in the past. I began to open my heart to those poor souls, who I knew were as lost as I used to be, who were captives just as I was. I began to feel love and compassion even for them. My heart was full and happy.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
I was doing so well at loving with the help of Jesus. I felt good and I wanted to love even more. Well, when you ask God for more, He is always happy to respond to that request! God began to place people directly in my life that were completely unlovable. I started to forget my prayer to love more, and started to feel filled with anger and even hate. It was startling and distressing – it was as if the old me had crept back in when I wasn’t looking. How could I even have such feelings left inside of me? Hadn’t I been doing so well-being kind and sweet and encouraging? Then I began to get upset with myself for being such an awful person. There I was again, completely unlovable.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Yet Jesus spoke to me so kindly, so sweetly. Don’t you see my child, that I love you even when you are hateful and mean-spirited? Even that cannot separate you from my undying love; from my mercy and grace. In my eyes, you are completely lovable, and you always will be. And this is how I am going to teach you to love those around you that you find to me unlovable.
I have to admit that was like a slap in the face and a sweet embrace all at once. Whatever that feels like…I am still prey to believing those old lies that I have listed to for so many years. It is still easy to fall into that trap of pushing people away, or putting up a wall around my heart to protect myself. But I don’t have to do that anymore. I have all the protection I need. I had the shadow of the mountain to cover me, to hide me from anything that is more than I can bear.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2