love is not for the faint of heart: 3 things on loving difficult people

I'm writing to all my friends who have not quite figured out the virtue of patience. Listen, I know my patience should be bigger. It’s something that God works in my heart continuously through His always right on time, yet rarely on my timetable way of doing things.

He has this way of showing us He knows best. And isn’t it beautiful? But I doubt we will ever see His best if we decide to live an impatient life. And seeing His best doesn’t just mean to see His best in our personal lives, but even more important...seeing His best in the lives of those whose lives have gloriously intertwined with ours.

In my previous blog I mentioned how it wasn’t until I moved to Greece and worked with children who were abandoned and abused that I really understood what it meant to walk a long road with people. (You can read it here)

Because things sometimes aren’t instant, especially in dealing with people (the most precious thing to the heart of God.)

So I’m assuming you who are reading this MAY be in need of patience and you have already skimmed through what I’ve written already and want to get to the bullet points in bold. No condemnation..I do the same.

So let me meet you where you are and give you some bullet points on some things I’ve learned in walking the long road with people: 

  • CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES

Have you ever run a long distance race with the distance markers on the side of the track? Could you imagine running and not having one notice of how far you ran to the finish line? I don’t know about you, but that would make the race never ending for me.  What do those mile markers do? They let you know how far you’ve come.

When you’re working with people from difficult places (and really people in general), when there’s a goal they are trying to reach, the best thing you can do is notice the small things. The GOOD small things. Even though it’s easy to be reminded of the things others haven’t measured up to, let’s change our perspective and see how far someone has come. 

  • BE A GENEROUS GIVER OF GRACE

Oh this one.

I used to think if someone heard the truth and failed in doing it, something was wrong in them. Now I see hearing the truth but missing the mark as simply human. 

The prior is a self-righteous way to think anyway. Being a generous giver of Grace is essential in walking the long journey with people. 

Why is it essential? Because grace was AND CONTINUALLY IS being shown towards us in our lives.

Isn’t it funny when we expect everyone to give us heaps of grace but when someone around us needs it we hold it back thinking we've given too much already? 

You don't even want to know who is continually having to show YOU grace in your life RIGHT NOW!!!! Just to put things in perspective ;). 

When these kids at abbahouse hear the instruction of one of the theas (caretakers) and don’t follow orders, we don’t give up on them. Or even when one of the kids starts cussing up a storm and yells at the other kids..we don’t give up on them and throw them on the street. 

No. We show them grace. Because in the act of showing grace, you look deeper in the story. These children are not cussing because they are bad children. Their innocence was stolen and the pools of grace and love of Jesus they are now living in will restore it back to them.

I think that's how Jesus saw the sinner. He looked deeper in the story and realized they were people without a shepherd, sinners in need of a saviour. That's nothing to be angry about, but it's something that causes compassion and grace to rise up.

But grace is what it takes, and many times not just grace but a lot of time. 

Are we willing to walk that out?

The reward is worth it, no matter the cost.

  • BE PATIENT UNTIL YOU NEED TO KEEP BEING PATIENT

This is a good one. You know that scripture in Ephesians, when you’ve done all to stand, keep standing?

It’s like, if you think you’ve made it to the finish line, keep going. There may be more battles, more distance, but if you keep sowing, keep standing and keep loving, I believe you’ll see beautiful fruit. 

And I want to say this, maybe you’re reading this and you have recently given up on the hope for your child to be free. Maybe they walked away and your grace has run out. 

I encourage you, keep showing grace. Let them know you are always there and haven’t given up, Let them know that you are still waiting at the window with the orders to throw a party on his arrival on your lips. 

Loving people is not for the faint of heart or the impatient.

But isn’t it worth it when you love in such a way, that even the one far off knows he’s safe to come home?

friends, we can do this.

my life motto is this: love well. and that's what I want to do. 

love well when it's easy and when it's not. 

loving well means not giving up on someone. 

let's do this. 

jenny