Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

WHY LOVING THE UNLOVABLE STINKS

He’s rude. He’s inappropriate. He’s foul-mouthed. He thinks he’s funny and cute. He makes snide remarks to people and doesn’t care about the outcome. He speaks his mind with total disregard for whomever he wipes out in the wake of his words. He makes more enemies than friends and couldn’t care less.

He’s the topic of frequent conversations and complaints among other residents at the senior living community where I work.

Sometimes he can be charming. Occasionally he can be sweet. But my experience is more the former than the latter.

As I walked up to the table where he was seated recently, I heard him tell his table mates, “This lady here is a real b*tch.” I don’t know if he was kidding or serious. It didn’t matter really.

This summer I personally registered him to vote and hand delivered his form to the Clay County Board of Elections in Liberty, Missouri. I’ve answered questions that he’s inquired about. I always say hello, am always friendly and reach out to him. But quite frankly it’s not easy. To be honest, I’d rather toss him out with the rest of the trash at the end of the day.

Every month, I run our Resident Council meeting. Yesterday he came. Shocker! He doesn’t attend anything…ever. Before the meeting, I make coffee for the residents and serve each one of them. It was all I could do to serve this man—who is rude, difficult, and unkind—without wanting to “accidentally” spill the coffee on him. But serve him I did. I’m pretty sure he muttered a “thank you” somewhere in there. And I thought for a hot second, “maybe this is progress.” I thought wrong. Later in the meeting he got ticked off at me and stormed out. I shook my head and moved on with the meeting.

Loving the unlovable is a real struggle. It’s frustrating. Loving the unlovable is work, there’s no reward, and it’s not any fun—three things which we spoiled, self-centered Americans aren’t particularly fond of.

I was kinda frustrated at the end of the day as I reflected back. My conversation with Jesus at that point went something like this:

“I’m done. I’m not wasting my time with that guy anymore.”

“Love him anyway.”

“But it’s pure work.”

“Indeed it is. But love him anyway.”

“But I never see any progress in my love for him.”

“Doesn’t matter. Love him anyway.”

“But I served that guy coffee today, adding cream and sugar just the way he likes it, and this is the thanks I get in return?”

“Yes! And by the way…it’s not about you!”

“This straight up stinks!”

“Maybe to you. But your loving the unlovable is a sweet fragrance to Me.”

Deep breath. Reboot. Got it.

You see…whether we know it or not…whether we feel it or not…whether we see progress or not…the sweet fragrance of the likeness of Christ can be an irresistible pull toward the Savior.

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4 thoughts on “WHY LOVING THE UNLOVABLE STINKS

  1. Sarah Sporrer on said:

    Good one, Beth! And, thank you, Jesus, for the reminder!

  2. Beth, you are correct in that it is indeed difficult to love the “unlovable” but there you have it. We are called to be like Jesus and that is certainly what He did! There may have been a few Pharisees where He may have said, “What Really!” The point is, loving does not necessarily change the person we love, but it does change us.

  3. David McDonald on said:

    Hey Beth I enjoyed reading this. It gets me to think of some of the people in my church that are like this man. One lady in our church is always crabby. Telling people that everyone is leaving, complains about the pastor and my wife. Had one older couple tell my wife that this lady would complain if you hung her with a new rope. You probably have someone like that in your church. I think every church has one or two. I tell the wife just be nice to her.

  4. Melody Shaw on said:

    Beth, I know I do not comment often on your posts. But I want you to know how much I love them and how much they speak to me. It seems no matter what your post is somehow I can always relate to it, and they truly do make me want to be a better Christian. This one in particular really hit home as I have someone I am dealing with that is much like the person in your post. I know down deep that I really need to love on this person but it is really difficult to do. But I do so appreciate the reminder that is exactly what God wants us to do. I’ll keep working on it. Blessings to you, Melody Shaw

    Sent from my iPhone

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