So, this whole blog is about unconditional love, right? To a great extent, in previous posts, we’ve talked about the different ways to show U Love. Yet, I realized recently, that we’ve glossed over one of the most important points about showing U Love to others, loving the unlovely. Here is how I came to this realization.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Practice what you preach?” In regards to U Love, I thought I had a fairly decent handle on following that adage. You may remember my mom mentioning in previous posts that showing U Love has come easier to me than it has to her (I have other areas in my life that need some work, though! LOL). Usually, that’s the case. But, it was different this time.
You see, a good acquaintance of mine has been acting quite unloving to me for awhile now. We used to get along rather well, but, over time, that friendship has seemed to wither (mostly from my friend’s side). I don’t really know what brought this on, or why this person began treating me hurtfully, but it happens almost every time I am around this person. I feel judged by this person, even for circumstances about which she doesn’t even know. There’s been snide comments directed towards me, making me feel embarrassed and lowly.
It comes across to me that this person tries to hide behind a “pleasant” veneer, but I can see through it all. It doesn’t matter how “nice” something is said to someone, or how big a smile is; if the words coming out of one’s mouth don’t match one’s face and tone, they’re most likely going to wound the other person. We can’t coat onions in chocolate and expect them to taste delicious through and through. They’ll typically elicit a response of tears.
So it is in this situation. This friend seems somewhat fake in how she treats me, because I can see her true colors in the content of what she says to me. I guess it’s no surprise that I started to let this situation get to me. I began to take offense at this person, and let her hurtful behavior towards me fester. Uncharacteristically, I started to respond to her in a not very loving way. I wasn’t exactly mean to her; and I didn’t say hurtful things; but I wasn’t my usual, friendly self.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t very long until I found I could barely bring myself to talk to this person. Sometimes, when she’d make an unkind comment to me, I’d ignore her rather than answer in a courteous way; or I would reply in an annoyed tone, because I was embarrassed by what she had said. Basically, I tried to avoid this person at all costs because I was hurt by her, and I didn’t want to encounter her callous statements towards me. Another reason for my behavior was because I didn’t really know how to respond. I didn’t want to be outwardly mean, so I sought refuge in dodging the person, rather than confronting her.
It’s been this way between me and this person for quite some time now, to the point where there’s hardly any communication between the two of us…. ever. We both just pretty much ignore each other most of the time. For a period of time, I didn’t give much thought to my behavior, because I saw this situation as one where the other person was hurting me. I reasoned that I was allowed to respond the way I did. It was only natural, right? Wrong. Maybe this type of response is OK from man’s point of view, but aren’t we supposed to be exemplifying GOD’s unconditional love to one another? Bingo.
Recently, when I was thinking about this person, I felt very convicted in my heart about the way I had been responding to her. I realized that by responding with resentment and in hurt, I wasn’t showing true U Love at all. I was letting the other person’s behavior affect my willingness to show U Love. I was not operating in the basic principle of U Love! I wasn’t loving the unlovely!
Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that this person’s outward appearance is unlovely. I’m talking about the way that she treats me is unlovely. The Bible asks us what honor is there in loving those who act loving to us? Being loving to someone who is already kind to us is just a natural response. That’s easy! Anyone can do that! The true test of ultimate U Love is to act loving towards those who are unloving towards us, or to those we don’t like.
And, wow, I knew I was not exhibiting U Love towards this person. Most of my life, I’ve not had a problem being loving to the unlovely. But, in this particular case, I was struggling with it; and I hadn’t even realized this folly until recently! True U Love means loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. That’s where the challenge is. That’s where we find out what our U Love is really made of. In this particular case, I was registering at a low number on the U Love meter. This needs to be remedied ASAP.
I realize that no matter how hurtful this person has been towards me, I must respond in a loving way, the way God would respond. I must look at this person through a lens of love. I must modify my actions and responses to her to line up with U Love. This starts by forgiving this person in my heart, and no longer allowing myself to take offense at the manner in which she treats me. I need to go out of my way to show U Love to this person in the face of her verbal, fiery darts. And, who knows, maybe this exhibition of U Love will solicit a response of U Love from her as well. Love shown to another rarely returns void.
But, regardless of how this person responds to me, my actions towards her must not be contingent upon her actions towards me. My treatment of her must reflect the principles of U Love. I’m hoping at some point, that this person and I will have a chance to talk things out and to make amends. However, either way, I’m determined to treat this person with U Love and practice what I preach. So, my thought for the day is, “Loving the unlovely will, in turn, make you more lovely!”
Talk soon! Please join our U Love chain here!