Pray for loving grace. We could call it “the grace to love”. Pray that the Lord would use your life to express His love for that person. Then act according to that love. When you pray, stop to remember that Jesus does love that person. Because He loves them, and He is your life, then—in Him—you already love that person. So thank Jesus for giving you all that you need by His grace, including love for that person and trust Him to love that person through you.
But there are some things to remember. First, you don’t have to come up with the love from yourself. It probably isn’t there. He will give that love when you ask for it. You probably won’t feel more loving toward the person. In fact you might not see a great deal of change. But, in response to your prayer, you will be sharing the love of the Lord when you visit with that person or reach out to him or her.
Love is different from trust. You are called to love others, not to trust them. The Scripture makes it clear that Jesus didn’t trust the people around Him, but He still loved them. Just because you love someone does not mean you have to let them borrow your car or give them access to your bank account. There are people who, for their own good, should not be trusted in certain situations. That has nothing to do with your love for them. In fact, it may well be more loving to deny someone something they want than to give it to them.
Loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean spending quality time with them. It might, if that’s what Jesus calls you to do. But sometimes we get all bound up inside because we think we have to become close friends with that person.
If you have been betrayed or regularly hurt by another person, you may have to love them from a distance. You can love people you never really want to see again. You can forgive someone who took advantage of you without giving them the opportunity to take advantage of you again.
Love doesn’t mean giving in to someone. It isn’t loving to give a child molester another chance to work with kids. It isn’t loving to buy alcohol for your alcoholic relative. It isn’t loving to let someone who doesn’t have a license borrow your car. In fact, we have a different word for these things—we call it enabling. Many times Christians are guilty of enabling broken and addicted people so they can feed their sinful habits.
Can I be blunt? Loving isn’t about being stupid. Loving is about recognizing the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ values and is ready to welcome that person into His kingdom. Loving someone is remembering that Jesus really does love that person.
Ask Jesus what you should be doing in regards to that person. Maybe you should go and visit. Maybe you should talk about that hard topic. Maybe you should lend him your car because Jesus wants you to. I don’t want to tell you never to do these things. I am telling you to look to Jesus. Sometimes He might lead you just to stay home and think about something else. Maybe you should let the relationship end and move on. If Jesus leads you to any of these, you will be acting in love.
Another thing: if that love, that kindness, is rejected, just remember that it wasn’t from you. It wasn’t your love that was rejected, it was the love of Jesus. What a sad thing to reject His love! Yet, we understand that because most of us did that in our lives. We pushed Him away for a time. Your person might do the same thing, no matter how much He uses you to reach out.
If you take the rejection personally, you are feeling that it was your love that reached out to the person. Instead, just remember that He has a lot more love where that came from and He is very generous with His love. You can go back again and again. If that person wants to reject your kindness, remember that they are rejecting His kindness.
You see, grace is the wonderful, powerful, generous Lord reaching down to us in our need. When we find it hard to love, He has plenty of love to give. All you have to do to receive love, enough love to get through anything, is to bow before Him in submission and humility and ask. Then receive what He gives.