Loving others isn’t always easy.
That’s probably not a new revelation to you, but it is a truth that seems to be hitting home to me more than ever.
When someone is rude, hurts your feelings, or disappoints you, it is hard to continue loving that person.
Sometimes people let you down in a big way, leaving a giant ache in your heart. But even small things can come between you and loving others the way you should…
Sometimes I feel like writing off the friend who’s always too busy, or the one who chronically forgets to text back. Or the self-centered person you always check in on, but forgets to inquire how you’re doing.
When I’ve been hurt by someone’s actions, I can be tempted to rationalize that this now gives me reason to forget them and move on. You tell yourself, you never really cared much for them in the first place, did you?
But life gets lonely when you stop caring. And frankly, it’s a waste of your time. What makes our lives worthwhile if not showing love to others? Even when you think they don’t deserve it? We don’t deserve God’s love, but He freely gives it to us anyway.
We all have shortcomings and should cut each other some slack. Usually, it’s not you; it’s them. Seriously! I’m trying to say, don’t take things personally – we all have our own demons to fight. When you notice a friend’s flaw, don’t hold it against them. Use it to gain a better understanding of what goes on in their mind. Use it to help them understand issues going on in their life as a result.
In other words, be a friend.
I’ve observed that when people hurt you, when you don’t receive the affection or response you expected, you might think it’s easier to hold a grudge. Get mad at that person and hate their guts instead. It hurts less.
Except it doesn’t hurt less.
Sometimes, to avoid feeling hurt, I chose what I tell myself is a righteous anger. Someone injured my feelings, so I will just be mad at their stupid, inferior personality. At least I don’t do that, I think to myself! Hmph.
Except that I forget we all have flaws, and I’m pretty sure I’ve hurt others too. No one ever gave me a medal for friend of the year!
So at least when you’re hurt, you can cry. You’ll feel somewhat better afterward! But when you’re angry….do you punch a wall and feel better? Kick your cat? Yell at your kids? None of those things will help.
Anger grows and grows.
But God is with you in the sadness.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Embrace the sadness and move on. Don’t find reasons to hate or hold grudges. Choose to love and forgive. Don’t pretend like you never cared for the person who hurt you.
“Above all, keep loving each other earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
My friend is moving this week, and it may as well be the other side of the world. Only a very long drive or an expensive flight could take me there. No more chats over coffee, no more playdates.
One of the hardest things about this for me (besides seeing my daughter lose yet another friend) is starting over. Cultivating new friendships takes time. Part of me is too tired to try again, but I have a lifetime of friendships ahead of me that will likely come and go.
Looking on the bright side, I now have a little extra time to show kindness and love to new friends!
Here’s what I’ve learned about love and friendship in my several decades of life:
- You can’t give up on making friends because you always seem to drift apart one way or another, and you get tired of starting over.
- You can’t stop trusting people because someone let you down.
- You can’t get tired of feeling like the friend who always puts forth more effort.
- You can’t retreat from the world when people and relationships in general are just plain old difficult.
- You can’t expect others to read your mind, and respond in the exact manner you need.
- You can’t expect others to act in a way that doesn’t come naturally to them. Everyone is a work in progress. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Loving isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
It isn’t always easy to choose love over hate, but it makes your life feel a lot fuller.
Loving others, even when it hurts too much, is always worth the pain.
God commands us to love one another, even as He loves us. (John 15:12)
God’s grace is a gift to us (Eph. 2:8)…let’s pass it on.