Today’s Truth

So encourage each other and give each other strength.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friend to Friend

Yep! It is hard to love people who are hard to love. But they are the ones who need love most. I know. I am sometimes hard to love and I desperately need the love of those around me who can look past my flawed behavior to the hidden pain.

We once lived in South Florida where we experienced a couple of unlovable neighbors. In fact, they seemed to thrive on being unlovable … but our children were determined to love them anyway. (Now would be a good time to go back and read my last devotion.)

Jered and Danna made special Christmas cards for these neighbors, the Smiths, and wanted to deliver those cards in person. I suggested they wait until their dad came home so he could get in on the fun. I know. I am evil. Nope! Those cards had to be delivered immediately. I was clearly outnumbered.

As we headed out the door, Danna yelled, “Wait! I forgot the books!” Okay. I was clueless. Why in the world would we need books? With a sigh of exasperation, Danna said, “Because they might want to read to us, Mom!” She didn’t say it, but I could hear the silent “duh.”

Books and cards in hand, we once again headed out the door when Jered suggested, “Mom, we should take them some of the cookies we made.” Now that was asking too much! My sugar cookies are a must for every special holiday and considered by many to be scrumptious. And now my children wanted to waste some of those exquisite cookies on people who would probably toss them in the garbage.

However, the silent plea of Jered’s blue eyes persuaded me to add a Christmas tin of my delicious sugar cookies to our quickly growing stack of nice things to take to people who were definitely not nice. With every step, I prayed that the Smiths would not be home. I rang the doorbell and after a whole thirty seconds, turned to Jered and Danna and said, “Too bad! They are not home. We can come back later.” At that precise moment, Mr. Smith opened the door and barked, “What do you people want?” I could see the headline, “Pastor’s Wife Arrested in Neighborhood Disturbance.” It was one thing for someone to treat me like that, but when someone is mean to my kids – well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty.

As I counted to ten for the second time, Jered thrust the Christmas cards into the man’s hands and said, “We made you something. It’s free!” he said. No way! It was not possible! I thought I saw the beginning of a smile on Mr. Smith’s face. Danna chose that particular moment to hand Mr. Smith the cookies. “And these are for your mother,” she said, her big brown eyes sparkling with excitement. Great! With six words Danna had just aged Mrs. Smith by twenty years.

And then it happened.

Mr. Smith smiled, stepped back into the house and called, “Mother, we have company.”

For two hours, the Smiths read books, ate sugar cookies, and raved about the beautiful cards the kids had made. When we finally left, Mr. Smith said, “Such lovely children. You should have more!” Mrs. Smith hugged the kids and asked, “Why didn’t you bring the dog?”

I was speechless.

And I was ashamed.

My heart cried out to God, “Lord, I am so sorry for being totally blind to the needs of these people. Please forgive me.”

But that is not the end of the story.

The Smiths became friends and great neighbors. Weeks later, Mr. Smith had a heart attack and was hospitalized for several days. Dan was able to visit him and share Christ with a man who simply needed someone to recognize the deepest need of his life – and do something about it.

Our children led the way and taught me a powerful lesson about the depth and height of God’s stubborn love and what can happen when we are willing to love the unlovable

Let’s Pray

Father, Please forgive me when I judge others instead of loving them. Help me see every person through Your eyes of love and mercy. Please guard my tongue and my heart so that I will build up and not destroy others. I want to please You by the way I love the unlovable. Help me grow up and become a fully devoted follower of Christ.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Right now, think of the most abrasive person in your life.

  • Are you ready to accept and love that person without demanding that they change?
  • Find one good point about that person and voice it to others whenever you have the chance.
  • What can you do to demonstrate the unconditional love of God for that person?
  • Do you need to ask this difficult person for forgiveness? Are you willing to do that now?

More from the Girlfriends

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11 Responses to “Loving the Unlovable Part 2”

  1. Tanisia says:

    Wow! I was on this emotional ride with you. The Lord is definitely dealing with me in this area. I took a first step and invited this person to my home for Sunday dinner. But I know that God is going to require more. Praying to be immediately obedient and not allow the enemy and my flesh to have power in this situation. Especially, since this persons reaction is not all smiles and happy moments.

  2. Abbey says:

    I have been dealing with difficult people in the workplace and these devotions really helped me through that. Luckily I am taking on a different job in January (perfect timing!) But…I actually have been praying for the people who have wronged me. I can tell that there is something in their life that must make them unhappy and so they take it out on others. I am so thankful to have the Lord in my life. Without him, I’d be miserable too..I have been there! Lord-help me to show them the goodness of your love through my actions and help me be an example and not let my emotions take over. Amen

  3. Lisa says:

    Love this! Getting our mind set out of its norm and finding those God needs us to reach. He has used your children well, and taught us a lesson.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Dear Mary,

    Last year, around Christmas, God spoke to my heart to bake some goodies and give them with a card to my unlovable neighbors who lived directly behind ME! Unfortunately, I got busy and never obeyed Him. I also have a good friend who has had a very hard time forgiving his “mean neighbor.” He is a new Christian, and loving the unlovable is a foreign concept to him. Not taking the “log out of my own eye,” but wanting to “take the speck out of his,” I told my friend that he needed to let go of bitterness and forgive his neighbor’s ill treatment of him. I felt so convicted and prompted by God after reading these devotions today. I’ve decided to take on the challenge to finally obey Him and deliver cookies and a card to my former neighbor. I have just emailed my friend and challenged him to a “Cookie Baking Day,” to ask him to help me obey the Lord’s gentle prodding in my life. Hopefully, by us doing it together, it will encourage him to do the same for his “mean neighbor!” I will email you back and let you know how it turns out! Thanks for listening to the Lord and writing this devotion. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  5. JULIE says:

    Can I just say this brought tears to my eyes. Wow thank you.

  6. Donna says:

    I sometimes think of myself as unlovable and difficult and even wonder why certain folks put up with me. On the flip side, I also find myself intolerant and impatient with others that I consider unloveable. What a sorry person I must be. Your devotional touched me a great deal. I think I will make a pledge to try to be a little less disagreeable and a little more tolerant. Please remember me in your prayers.

  7. sami says:

    ty for this!

  8. Tina says:

    Thanks for this devotion. Can’t help but cry when reading the prayer. I am so deeply touched as I sometimes consider myself as unlovable and that only God can love me as I am. I pray that God will help me change and for the people that I’ve hurt accept my apology.

  9. Dee Heidenreich says:

    Thank you for the beautiful story.

    I do a prison ministry and had a guard that was nasty when we entered the jail. I would smile at her and all I got was the stone face from her. I tried to exchange a conversation about the difficulty of her job, but her snap respondence was, “it is people like me that are nice are going want special favors from her.” I wasn’t there to ask for special favors, but to bring the hope of Jesus to these ladies in jail.

    I decided to just ignore her and let her stay in her bitterness, but God had a different idea. He convinced me to try again. I also baked Christmas cookies and fixed a tin for her and since she didn’t talk to me I enclosed a letter. I told her that I wasn’t there for “special favors”‘ but to bring the hope that only Jesus can offer, using us as His instruments to deliver His message. I told her that we weren’t just there for God’s ladies serving time, but for God’s ladies protecting us. I also told her my husband retired from the police department after thirty-five years of service and I understand the frustrations officers of the law undergo. She was told that God loves her and has a plan for her life.

    A few weeks went by and had a number of people praying for her. When I came in the next time, I walked through the metal detector, as usual, and looked at her and she was smiling at me. All I could think of is, God you are so amazing. He can soften hearts and change us.

    Every week when I come in she is waiting with a smile and loves to talk. I so look forward to seeing her and see how God is
    changing her. There hasn’t been an opportunity to share Jesus with her, but I know God will work that out too.

    I know there are thousands and thousands of stories like this, where God uses His people, but I thought you might want to hear mine.

    God’s continued blessings on you and your ministry, Dee

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8