Beth Moore is a gifted speaker who gets straight to the heart of the issue whenever she speaks. One of my favourite talks of hers is this one on the topic of Loving Difficult People. There are several parts to this but I'm only going to share a brief clip because it is what stood out most to me. I'll ask you to watch the following video first before continuing this discussion....
"We can love people who will give us back nothing because God gives us everything." -Beth Moore
For me this lesson was life changing. One of my biggest struggles has been dealing with rejection. I will have the sincerest heart and best of intent when sharing the truth in love with people only to find that they cut me out, or even hate me for simply sharing the joy and understanding I have found in Christ. It got to the point where I almost feared relationships with people because of my fear of rejection. For a time I did exactly what I dreaded...I shut people out. I didn't allow people to get close to me, I stopped sharing my heart. Just like they pushed me away...I began to push people away. I think we all have dealt with this need for acceptance...to be loved by others. But it was after hearing this message that it really clicked for me.
I don't have to fear rejection from people because God has already accepted me as as I am. I don't have to look to people to validate my significance or reciprocate my love. I am now free to love because in loving others I am no longer seeking to be loved in return. I love because I am loved by God and want to share His love with everyone. There is tremendous freedom and joy in this kind of love. It becomes authentic rather than forced, desperate or self-seeking. Knowing that even if no one else in this world would love me that God always will is so fulfilling. Sure I still struggle with wanting the approval of people sometimes, but I can return to this promise each and every time I face that struggle. God....the Creator of the Universe...the author of love...the Master of design...loves little 'ole...imperfect....me. That makes my heart full with an endless supply of love. And since I'm no longer trying to fill my own heart with love....it frees me to love others for the sake of loving not for the sake of receiving. I hope you too can enjoy this freedom to love by allowing Christ to love you.
Having shared this let me be the first to acknowledge that I still struggle with loving people every single day. To be completely honest, I struggle with loving my own self every single day. But God does not call us to be perfect, He simply calls us to love. We can never love like God...but with God's love, loving others becomes less complicated.