Hard love.

I work at a preschool.

Just imagine all the crazy.

The kids are cute and funny--they say the craziest things. They certainly make my life much more interesting.

I love them all.

But, I love some more than others. Favorites, you might call them. Some are just easier to love.

The ones who are cuter, funnier, compliant, cooperative, engaged and have no behavior problems are just easier to like. Let's be honest here.

That being said:

It is easier to love those easiest to love.


Read that again:

It is easier to love those easiest to love.

 

Have you ever noticed that it's sometimes easier to love complete strangers than those closest to us?

(And I mean, really love them--unobstructed love.)

I can be really loving and accepting of strangers and acquaintances and homeless people, but . . .

What about that lazy husband?

The nagging wife?

The obnoxious sibling?

The defiant child?

The co-worker who does nothing but complain?

Sure we love them, but often its a hard love.


What's easier to love?

The an angler fish or a cute hedgehog? A sticker burr or a lily? Maple syrup or cough syrup? No brainer, right?

Who's easier to love?

The baby who's colicky and cries all day or the happy baby who sleeps all day?

The kid who has ADHD and throws things and hits or the sweet, smart kid who gets along with everyone?

The sullen teenager who plays video games all day isolated or the outgoing teenager who is the quarterback of the football team?

The mom who drowned her three children or the single mom working three jobs to support her three kids?

The drunk homeless man panhandling on the corner or the disabled vet holding the sign that reads, 'Please help, God bless?"

The ISIS militant or Syrian refugee?

No brainer, huh?

 

HARD LOVE.

It's hard to love people who are rude and annoying. It's hard to love people who are ugly and mean.

Jesus calls us to the hard love.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Yeah, but it's really hard.

That's exactly why we need Jesus. He is our example. We will never get it right on our own.

He comes to us where we are and helps us work through our hardened hearts to the hard love.

 

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Matthew 5:43-48  The Message

 

I'm sure you've heard the saying that those who are unlovable need our love the most, right?

 

What kind of HARD LOVE is God whispering in your ear?

Who?

That person.

That one who betrayed you.

That one who hurt you.

That one who you just cannot stand.


The ex husband?

The neighbor?

The co-worker?


Haven't forgiven that person?
Are they hard to love?
That's ok. Let's work on it.--Jesus