Some People Are Hard to Love
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Most of us who invest in addiction ministry, do so with some wide-eyed optimism, hoping that everyone we meet will instantaneously, miraculously, and permanently find recovery. Nowhere is man’s persistent self-destructive nature on better display though, than in those who struggle with addiction. In working with those struggling with addiction, it seems that perhaps one out of ten will get it. Most it seems, just aren’t ready to do what it takes to get sober. Of those who do find recovery, many will relapse multiple times. If you’ve invested something of yourself in them, it seems you are destined for disappointment. Some people are hard to love.
The one addicted often wants to change. He will say all the right things. He does perhaps seem to change for a while. Frequently though, he will relapse into the old destructive behaviors and if you allow yourself to get close enough, some of that destruction will spill out into your life. Where you once felt compassion, you’re now tempted to feel frustration, anger, and resentment. Some people are hard to love.
In today’s passage, Paul described agape, or divine love. This is the love God has for us and it is the love we are to return to him and to those around us. As Christians, we’re to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). In today’s verses, Paul described what this love looks like.
Just imagine God’s view of us. He sees our recurrent failures, he knows how we struggle, and he longs for us to abandon ourselves to follow him. We desire to live rightly and sometimes we say all the right things. We want to leave behind the old life for the new one. Repeatedly though, we relapse into our self-destructive sin, betraying God’s love. He’s invested himself so much that Christ came to die for us, but still, we spurn this love, following ourselves. People are hard to love.
Yet God loves us still. His love bears all things. His love hopes all things. His love endures all things. This is the love which we receive from him, and it is the love that is to flow out of us to those around us. Love doesn’t mean enabling or ignoring destructive behavior. Like God’s love though, our love isn’t to be contingent on whether it is ever returned. Some people are hard to love, but truly following Christ means loving others as he has loved us.