Loving the unlovable people in your life is something that most of us struggle with. We have a nature to want to protect ourselves and a tendency to take things personally. However, what about those family members, work colleagues, neighbors, and church members who continue to give us the cold shoulder? How can we learn to love them regardless?
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (Mathew 5:44 NKJV)
The Porcupine People
No matter how kind, warm, friendly, nice, or sincere we are, they always put up a wall of protection around themselves. I call these people “porcupine people” because it’s a perfect example of how porcupines use their sharp quills to protect themselves from predators. Their sharp quills keep other animals away. They fear the porcupine’s sharp quills so they stay away or risk getting hurt.
It’s the same with those “porcupine people”. They seem to use their sharp quills to send a message to others to stay away—don’t get close. This keeps others at a distance. But, it also keeps the porcupine people safe within their comfort zone, so they don’t get challenged.
They do this out of fear of getting hurt. These porcupine people are sadly holding onto past pain and don’t know how to release it, as many don’t know God as their Lord and savior.
Learn to Love the Unlovable
We are to learn how to overcome these porcupine people and pray and love them all the same.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4 ESV)
So, how do we love the unlovable?
We must be committed and we must purpose in our hearts to love them despite their sharp quills. Put ourselves aside and focus on loving them. Understand that their insecurities do not allow them to drop their guard and become kind or friendly. Loving the unlovable can be very challenging—especially when their sharp quills have pricked you in a way that has deeply hurt you. Let us choose to forgive them, before trying to love them, for they know not what they do.
We love because he first loved us. (John 4:19 ESV)
Luke 23:34 reads
Jesus said,” Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
Their sharp quills are just a protective shield covering what is really going on inside them. Do not be intimidated by their sharp quills, but try to see them as Jesus sees them. They are hurting, just as we once were. Yet, Jesus still loved us; he never gave up on us. So, we must not give up on them.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)
Ways we can love them:
- Say encouraging things to them.
- Compliment them.
- Listen to them, and acknowledge them.
- Pray every day for them.
- Ask the Lord for His wisdom.
- Repent of any grudges, unforgiveness, jealousy, or hate toward them. (This will free you from any sin against them, so you can freely & sincerely love them.)
- Be compassionate and patient toward them.
Ways for us not to get stung by those sharp quills:
- Put on the whole armor of God daily.
- Learn what God says about you.
- Cast all your burdens on him.
- Be strong, steadfast, and unmovable. Hold onto every word of God. (Trusting in Him alone)
- Let go of what people think of you.
- Learn something from the porcupine people every time you’re with them.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. For example, you may learn how not to treat someone. You may learn that they may be quite smart but lack common sense. You may learn that they have been through some excruciating times you weren’t aware of. You might even start seeing them with a different view after learning that. It doesn’t matter what you learn from them, the important thing is to learn from them.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.