Loving the Unlovely

Michael Beck

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Albert Einstein wrote, “I love Humanity but I hate humans.” At least he was honest. Dostoyevsky expressed a similar sentiment. “The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular. In my dreams, I often make plans for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually face crucifixion if it were suddenly necessary. Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. I know from experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me.”

Love in theory is a worthless thing. Love must be proven in real life contexts with imperfect people. God calls us to love our neighbor. It’s not the person who lives around the globe who gets on our nerves, it’s the one who is near enough to us that we can see, hear, and smell him! If we can’t love our neighbor, (i.e., those who live closest to us) we can’t love anyone. Only by knowing the love of Christ will we know a love that loves the unloveliest. Our attempts to love will surely fail. But God’s love never fails. He alone can keep us loving “in deed and in truth.”

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.