Whaddaya gonna do?
How do you show love,
how do you show mercy,
how do you show grace to someone who causes daily pain?
the vindictive co-worker
the crabby lady at church
the bitter family member
the resentful friend
the unkind in law
the teenager with issues so big there’s nothing you can do anymore
Exhausting. That’s what it is.
I don’t know about you, but I spend more than a healthy amount of time imagining myself telling them off. I play out the whole scene in my head. But I never feel better at the end.
Of course we know what to do. We know we’re supposed to be kind and loving and not take things so personally. But living with the unloving feels, at times, unbearable.
Much to my annoyance, the words of 1 Corinthians 13 spring to mind. You know, the love chapter. The chapter in the Bible that people read at weddings and get warm fuzzies. Well the reality of living the love chapter proves anything but warm or fuzzy. There’s no guarantee that the love, grace and forgiveness we extend will be accepted much less returned. In fact, to someone completely immersed in their world of me, the love and mercy may be spurned or mocked or completely unnoticed.
Life is hard isn’t it?
We know how it’s supposed to be; somewhere deep in our souls are echos of eternity and echos of the reality that once was before sin entered the picture. But now, in our broken, fallen world we’re left with our own crap and the crap of others.
What choice do we, who claim to follow Jesus, have but to forgive and forgive and forgive and to love and love and love and to give grace and more grace and more grace? Regardless of the outcome or response.
The words and concept are simple, straightforward and look lovely in theory.
But loving the unloving is hard.