How To Love Difficult People

About two years ago, I wrote an article on "How To Handle Difficult People." 

But since "difficult people" has been the topic of our church messages these past couple of weeks, I thought that I would share something quite different from what I wrote before.

God always has His way of touching my heart, and so from "handling" difficult people, the next level would be "loving" them.

What does this mean? It is to express love to those who seem like unlovable. To give love to people who hurt us. To love even our enemies.

Okay, not all of us have enemies, but you get the point.

Don't Expect On People

For me, the people who hurt me the most are the people I love the most. Why? Because expectations are higher towards people closer to me. When those expectations are not met, then I become frustrated and disappointed.

Which is why I am learning, still, not to expect from people.

Nobody's Perfect

CCF Senior Pastor Peter Tan-Chi said, "Love is an unconditional commitment towards imperfect people, which seeks their highest good and oftentimes requires sacrifice for God's glory."

Truly, nobody around here is perfect. Even myself, even you, everybody. We are not perfect. 

It is good to be reminded that we could be the "difficult person" for other people. That thought keeps me humble and grounded. It helps me become more compassionate with the difficult people around me.

Watch out, examine yourself honestly, and be teachable enough to change your ways if need be. Humility is the key to loving difficult people.

How To Love Difficult People

So how then do we love difficult people? Here are the ways.

1. Always remember that true love is from God. 

Unless we receive and experience this kind of love, we can never love a difficult person unconditionally. We cannot give what we do not have.

1 John 4:19 said that we love because God first loved us. Only a real experience of God's love will allow us to love others like Christ loved us. 

2. Realize that you are also a difficult person.

Only the realization that we are also sinners who needed mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, will we able to truly love those who give us a hard time.

As I've said, we can be the same difficult person that we detest from someone else's perspective. It's all about humility, my friends.

3. Learn to control your emotions.

The Bible said that the heart is deceitful. If we can control the way we feel, then it would be almost impossible for other people to control us.

We will continue to suffer if we have an emotional reaction to everything that people say around us. If other people's words can affect us, then we are subject to that person.

Learning to control our emotions makes us impervious, enabling us to love the unlovable.

4. Choose to love no matter what.

Now, I know this is easier said than done. But this is what we should try to do if we are really followers of Christ.

Choosing to love the unlovable is not hypocrisy. Pastor Peter said that hypocrisy is actually "knowing the right thing and refusing to do it."

Jesus commanded us to love one another, even to the point of loving our enemies. We know that this is the right thing to do every time. 

If we say that we are Christians, but we choose not to extend love, grace, and understanding, then that's the time when we are being hypocrites.

All We Need Is Love

We need to experience God's love so much, but not many of us realize this. 

We live in a world where it is easy to judge others and criticize one another. Especially in social media. 

Just a few clicks on the computer is enough to make anyone a keyboard warrior. Those few negative words may not mean a lot to you, because you are hiding behind a computer. But it can mean the life for the target person.

The good news is you can be the person where God's love could flow through. You can learn how to love difficult people and be different from the rest. 

Imagine a world where everyone is able to love unconditionally. Without expectations, without trying to force people into boxes you have created for them, loving them as God loves them - as they are.

Now, that would be the day.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I believe I'm not the only one. 

I know you are, too.