There are some people who, quite frankly, are impossible to love. You canít dig deep enough, canít try hard enough, canít believe enough and canít go far enough to make it happen. And Iím not talking about the likes of Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, either. No, the unlovable are everywhere, and itís the fairly normal people, not sinister monsters, who challenge our love capacity.
Bosses, coworkers, in-laws, your rival on the field, in the boardroom, or in the marketplace. Your ex-spouse. The guy who cut you off in traffic. The obnoxious mother at your kidís Little League game. There are some real jerks in the world, and they arenít too interested in becoming kinder, gentler, more loving people.
The irony in all of this lack of love is that your personal ability to love others has nothing to do with them. And it has nothing to do with you. See, you canít make yourself love other people, and you canít make them more loveable.
Real love, if it is love, comes from God. If the unlovable people we encounter are going to be objects of any level of affection ó and Iím not talking about hot, fiery emotion but genuine, gracious concern ó then love is something that God must do through us, to us and for us and for others.Itís not something we can produce on our own.
Instead, we must get to know God better, be more receptive to the Divine, become more trusting of who God is and what God can do and less confident in our own limited abilities. The more this relationship deepens, the more of Godís love we experience. The more of Godís love we experience, then the more loving we become.
So if we start with the source of love, rather than starting at a hoped for outcome and work backward, we get what we really need, and we are empowered to become people who are patient, kind and unselfish. We become the kind of people who, as the ancient Church Father Clement of Alexandria put it, ďpractice being God,Ē for ďGod is loveĒ (as the Apostle John put it), and those who know God best love the deepest.
I interact with people all the time who think the solution to Christianityís contemporary troubles is ďmore.Ē We need ďmore doctrinal statements, more declarations of what we believe, more clarification of right and wrong.Ē I would agree that the answer is ďmore,Ē but it is more God, resulting in more love, and that will make the difference.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor and author. His newest book is ďThe Gospel According to Waffle House.Ē You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me/.