Love without condition.
It’s one of the hardest things to do in life. There are always people who test your patience, give you grief when you try to offer help and even criticize you when you are trying your best to show how much you care. Sometimes people don’t make it easy to love them back.
But can you think of an instance where showing love and kindness is a poor choice? Even if it’s something as simple as smiling when someone scowls at you, your efforts to love are never wasted.
I remember so clearly my first day of soccer practice when I was in kindergarten (… and now I’m graduating from college this weekend!) – my red penny-jersey and hair in a pony tail at the very top of my head. I was kicking the ball around with my neighborhood friend when I looked up and saw her – an inch taller than me, short hair and dirty cleats. She didn’t say much. The type of girl who gets down to business and doesn’t leave room for much small talk, not even kindergarten talk about the prettiest My Little Ponies.
When we started doing drills, I kept my eye on this tough looking girl. She was a great player and I wanted to learn from her and tell her how excited I was that we were on the same team, but when I tried to approach her, she just grumbled. She even said a few “mean” things to me and the other girls – laughing at how we passed the ball as we tripped over our feet on the uneven ground. I left practice that night pretty discouraged. I just wanted to be this girl’s friend, yet from the looks of it, it seemed she wasn’t interested in being mine.
But my mom gave me a great piece of advice, which I still hold onto this day: “When you’re trying to make friends with someone who seems indifferent, give them a compliment.” ‘A compliment?!’ I balked. This girl hadn’t been nice – why was she deserving of a compliment?! Despite how crazy this sounded, the next day at practice I decided to try it out … and it worked! As soon as I said, “Hey, you have a great shot. I’d love to learn how to play like you,” she began to warm up. The rest of practice, she began to smile more and I kept telling her how much of an awesome soccer player she was. By the end of the night, we were little kindergarten buddies.
In 1 Peter 4, Peter reminds us of God’s greatest commandment: “Above all, love each other deeply, because above all, love covers a multitude of sins.” 4:8
Even though my kindergarten story is just a small example of showing love over “giving up,” it reminds me that showing love is always better than being bitter, rude or unkind.
So when those people enter your life that seem unlovable, know that it is within your power to love, to forgive and to show compassion. Your love is the greatest testament of God’s glory.