As Christians our mission in life is to be more like Jesus, to love and care for others. But loving others can be hard, especially when we encounter conflict in friendships. Some days, we get along with our friends. But other days, we feel misunderstood or judged by people we thought had our back. How do we love in those moments? And more importantly, is there anything we can learn from the way Jesus showed compassion in hard times?
How Jesus loved the unlovable
A clear example of Jesus’ mission, is found in Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Now what does that mean? Well, we read later on in the bible that Jesus did comfort all who mourned, walked among outcasts and gave them his love. He brought light to darkened eyes, healing to the sick, food to the hungry, and above all He helped people to experience a new life. He even loved and forgave those who mistreated him! In the darkest hour of his life, he could have hated his enemies but instead he chose to pray for them. And he invites you to do the same, to join him on a faith adventure. And yes, this adventure does include the challenge of loving when it’s hard to love!
How you can love the unlovable
The first step to accomplish this is asking God for help. You can ask him to make you strong enough to love everyone without distinction. But sometimes, it’s hard to love others. Especially when you feel like you’re doing everything for a friend but aren’t receiving much in return. You might wonder if it’s worth it to continue loving someone who’s difficult to love, especially when you don’t see the friendship going anywhere. Or maybe, you really care about your friendships, but there’s this one situation with a friend that’s really tough. So you find yourself wondering how long you can go on. If this is you, know that you don’t have to face this challenge alone. The more you seek God, the more you will feel empowered and bold to act with love. It certainly isn’t easy to love but “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)”
In other words, God can transform a difficult situation (like a conflict in your friendships) into something good. You can also look at it this way: before learning to walk, a baby falls, stumbles and gets hurt. But just as parents look after them God looks after you – and He never fails. He knows that relationships can get messy. That means that when you’re in the midst of a conflict with someone, you can take your feelings to God. You can even praise in the midst of it.
A first step towards radical love
So what do you do now? If your mission is to love like Christ loved, even when there’s conflict in your friendships, we want to challenge you to ask God for the strength to do this. You see, we love to talk about love…until it becomes difficult. But God wants us to come to him when we’re struggling. So maybe a first step you can take today is asking him to help you fulfill your mission. You can pray something like,
Jesus, show me how to practically love my friends. When it gets tough, help me to remember your love for me.
I pray you let Jesus remind you of his love for you and that he empowers you to love your friends in a concrete way today! And to continue thinking about this, watch the Voke app’s video, “Fish Love” (and other cool videos) about a similar type of love!