By Rachel VanHook
My kids enjoy a good old-fashioned Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. I know, I know. Let the tremors and armpit sweats begin. Whatever, y’all. Judge me if you must, but I am going to be straight-up honest: I love Chuck E. Cheese too.
The pizza is basic. The life-sized mouse is creepy. The chaos and noise produce a headache requiring immediate Tylenol attention. And more than likely, I am clueless who the other attendees are. But like I said, I enjoy these parties, and it’s for one simple reason.
Yea. I said it. I like to play Whack-a-Mole.
If you don’t know Whack-a-Mole, first of all, shame on you, and second of all, do yourself a favor and hit up your local Chuck E. Cheese to find one. Once you slip that dirty little gold token into the slot, the lights flash and the music begins. All of a sudden, five plastic moles start randomly popping up out of their little holes. The player uses a large, soft, mallet to bop those suckers on the head as hard as possible to force them back into their holes.
Mole bopping is an awesome opportunity to work out your aggression, bitterness, stress, or anger. Not that I would ever experience any of those emotions. I am just guessing that if I were to struggle with any of those things, I would probably hold that little black mallet and pretend those moles were the faces of people who have hurt me in some way over the years.
We all have unlovable people, don’t we? Those people we refuse to make amends with because they don’t deserve forgiveness or grace. Those people we avoid because they have deeply hurt us. Do me a favor and think of those people. Get them in your mind, and let them sit there while you read the rest of these words.
Your unlovable person may be a bit different from mine. You may have one name in mind or a whole list. Your person may have hurt you to the core. Maybe they just drive you crazy, and that’s okay. But one thing is not okay, and that is letting those unlovable people have any type of control of us.
I love this quote by G.K. Chesterton: “Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.”
If you don’t currently have someone in your life who is unlovable, then you may want to look around and find someone! Loving the unlovable is the greatest way for us to empathize with God’s love for us.
Becoming a Christ follower is one of the most unnatural things a person can do. Being like Christ means putting aside that which we naturally desire for ourselves and learning to live a life of compassion and selflessness.
But why should I love the unlovable? What’s in it for me? How do I love them? Where do I even begin?
As you search your heart to begin answering some of these questions, let me equip you with some weapons to use in this love battle!
First and most important, keep in mind it is not within our power to love others as we should.
From 1 John 4:7-8 we are taught, “Love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 12:9, which encourages us to not just pretend to love others, but genuinely love them. Are there any other souls out there who need this verse tattooed on their forehead?
Since we are called to be imitators of Christ, John 13:34-35 says, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
God’s Word is full of verses about love. In this particular verse, we are given two very clear reasons why we should love even when it hurts. (1) Jesus did it. Period. (2) Our love for others reveals our true love for Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Jesus, and I want my life to point others to Jesus. I understand there are situations in which relationships are broken past the point of repair. But at the same time, I know I serve a Savior who fought hard to repair a relationship with me that would have otherwise been beyond repair. May we fight hard together to be lovers of the unlovable. May the Holy Spirit work his way through us as genuine love in all circumstances.
Rachel Van Hook was born and raised in the Casey Jones capital city of Jackson, Tennessee. She’s mom to three girly girls, married to her church camp sweetie, and passionate about . . . well, according to her husband, she’s just passionate! Rachel blogs at racheljvanhook.com.