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Weekly Encouragement

How to Love Family (When It’s Hard To)

It seems weird that I’m writing on loving your family. If anything, the article should be How to Love Your Enemies, but sadly, loving our family can be just as difficult—sometimes harder.
Image: Vlado 

I mean, some people just make it so hard, no—so difficult, no—so…so…impossible to love them. You know what I mean. You treat your family with kindness and they take it for granted or do you wrong. Those family members that you pray for or go out of your way for and how do they treat you in return? Not with love.

Are we really supposed to love family who treat us that way? The answer is “yes.”

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. –John 13:34-35

Reading this scripture tells us it’s not a choice. It’s a commandment. You could almost see it as the “13th commandment,” except if you follow this one whole-heartedly, it’ll be easier to keep the rest (John 14:15).

But how are we (yes, I include myself) suppose to love people like that?  (Did I say ”people?” I meant family. Sorry.)

Let’s take a look at scripture:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:9-10

I really like this verse. What really grabs my attention is “abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Why? Ever heard the saying “love the sinner, hate the sin”? It’s the same concept. Love your family, but hate the evil and wrong they may do.

Another key phrase in this verse is “let love be genuine”. Meaning, let love be sincere—without any catches, without any conditions. Don’t feel in your heart “I love my family, but they did me wrong so I love them less”. That’s conditional love. If you love someone only because of what they do, give, or the way they act towards you—change.

Think: what if God loved us based upon conditions? What if God said, “You sinned, so I don’t love you”? Or if he told us, “You’re hard to love with all the unrighteous things you did in the past. Sorry, can’t love you today child.” We’d all be in great trouble.

So remember…

“Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7


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