Welcome back to “Friday Feature!” Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy today’s devotion! If you missed the last devotion, you can read it here!
Jennifer Sumner brings us today’s devotion titled, ” Loving others when they don’t love you back.” Jennifer is a 39 year-old mama of seven. She was saved at the age of 17 and has been married for 21 years to her high school sweetheart, who is now a retired Navy Pilot after 21 years of service. She loves to help and encourage others in this journey of life! Give Jennifer a follow! @fountainofmodesty
Loving others when they don’t love you back.
1 John 4:20-21
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
As people we can relate to others by experience, feelings, and circumstances. Not necessarily the exact same, but similar in relation. Something that we all can probably relate to, is having had someone that you have loved not love you back. It can be hurtful and disruptive to our daily lives. Especially when they claim to be Christians, fellow laborers, and your brothers and sisters-in-Christ. It’s almost more tolerable, acceptable, and even expected if by someone that’s not a Christian.
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.”
First, we must examine ourselves and make sure we are doing our part and being kind, friendly, and encouraging.
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Sure, we all struggle and are not perfect, so we must give others room for a bad day. But what happens when reconciliation is not the other person’s goal? When you so badly want the other person to love you, and to forgive you even if you have wronged them.
1 Peter 5:7
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Prayer is powerful. Not only is it comforting to go to the Lord in prayer and cast all our cares upon him, but the word of God tells us to do so. We may never fully know or understand what goes on in another person’s mind, heart, or life that makes it hard for them to love. I have learned that sometimes no matter how hard you try to love “that one” person, they just won’t love you back. As a child I would have 50 friends on the playground, but there was “that one” kid who wouldn’t play with me, and it would bother me. I felt like I had to go after that one to befriend them and try to win them over. But what about when your efforts are exhausted and you just can’t? Realize you cannot make someone else love you or like you. Although as Christians we are not commanded to like, we are commanded to love. So as for me, I choose to love them even if they don’t love me back. Hard? Yes! Especially if you see the person on a regular basis. Realize that your expectations may be too high for others.
Don’t expect other people to love you back. Just love them, and if they love you back great, and if not that’s OK. When we expect too much from other people, we tend to get hurt and let down. Even though its hurtful, we can spare ourselves less hurt by not having our expectations too high for others. Once you have examined yourself, purposed in your heart to love them, bathed the situation in much prayer, then the only thing left to do is leave an open door. Being careful not to let bitterness creep in or spring up.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
So go ahead and send that Christmas card, and not expect one in return.
1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
The devil is seeking whom he may devour. He is looking for a weakness and an opportunity to get into the Christians life, heart, mind, home, and ministries. Remember, the devil is a liar and would like nothing more to use something like bitterness to distract you and destroy you from the inside out. Let me remind all of my fellow Christians to love one another. It is a COMMANDMENT.
John 13:34 & 35
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.”
As Christians we need to be careful not to fall into satan‘s traps and use some of the worlds ways or reasonings not to love others. Be careful about listening or reading to any advice or self-help books even by Christian authors that do not line up with the word of God. Perhaps maybe you have found yourself in a situation where you feel as though you have enemies. As Christians we need to go to the word of God for answers, but then we must actually do what it says to do.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
“My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Sometimes we may just need to humble ourselves. Most of these things listed don’t come naturally, but they are what God wants us to do. We are to try to live peaceably with all men.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
When we have done all we can do, remember God‘s word is true and comforting. Our heart should truly want and desire reconciliation, restoration, peace, unity, genuine forgiveness on both sides, and a love that covers all. Some warnings in God‘s word are found in these verses.
“They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.”
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
“Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.”
1 Corinthians 13:1&2
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
It doesn’t matter your position in the church, how modest you are, how well you think, how much you go to church and read your Bible, unless you apply it to your heart and life and truly love, then it’s nothing. My prayer is that the Lord would continue to work in me and allow me to love others the way he intended me too. When others think of me, may they know I love them.
1 Corinthians 8:3
“But If any man love God, the same is known of him.“
Let me end by encouraging you to not let that one person stop you from loving others.