Loving The Unlovable

Read I Timothy 2:1-7

It’s isn’t easy to pray for people we don’t like. For example, when I’m driving in my car and somebody cuts me off, or blows their horn at me hecause I don’t hit the gas pedal the instant the light turns green, it’s not easy for me to pray that God will give that driver patience. Or when I hear about politicans and business leaders being caught stealing from the people, it’s not easy for me to pray that they might change their selfish ways. Or when I hear about the crimes committed by drug addicts, it’s not easy for me to pray their recovery from addiction.

But in Paul’s letter to Timothy  he says “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”. In this letter, he is particularly concerned with prayer for government leaders, at a time when Christians are not yet being persecuted as a group, but there are indications that such persecution by those in authority was beginning. But while he is speaking about praying for a particular group of people, he bases this advice on his understanding that God cares about salvation for all people, . He says that such prayer is good and acceptable to God “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”.  And the truth is found in the familiar verse,  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We also hear Jesus praying in the garden  of Gethsemane that he will draw all people to himself (John 12:32). These and other Biblical scriptures make it clear that God does not limit his love to to any particular race, class, or nationality. Paul clearly understands that through Christ, God has shown that his love is meant for all people, even people we don’t like. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul writes that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, forgiving all their sins”.

But he doesn’t leave it at that. It’s not enough just to believe that God loves unlovable people. He tells Timothy to pray for people who are beginning to show hostility toward Christians. And he goes on to tell the Corinthian church that God has entrusted the church with the responsibility of spreading the message of reconciliation.

Now why couldn’t Paul just leave it at saying that God loves everyone? Why do we have to love them too? After all, none of them really listens to us. But that’s where we are wrong. Some of them do listen to the word of God. Some of them do repent. Some of them do become born again in Christ.

I know that’s true because when I operated a small public relations bsiness (Horizon Comunications) which served small charitable non-profit organizations, one of my clients was a man who was operating a statewide prison ministry in New Jersey. A big part of this ministry was to bring the message of Christ to people in prison, helping their families,  and helping  prisoners to eventually lead productive lives. Many of the people he visited accepted Chtist in their lives.  But that’s not the whole story. You don’t have the whole story until you know that  he himself once served time in prison for murder, and in prison he found God. He found God because a group of Christians understood that God loved all people, and they were to do the same, no matter how evil and sinful they might be. 

Another of my clients was a woman who operated a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for women. Society saw the women who entered her facility as hopeless cases and had given up on them. But because she knew that God cared for all people, she knew they were not hopeless. And again, that’s not the whole story. She too was once a supposedly hopeless drug addict. As she put it, she had committed just about any sin you could think of. to support her drug habit. But she heard the good news of salvation through faith in Christ from some faithful Christians. Through these people she too found God. 

This man and this woman both found and experienced the presence of God in Christ when they were at the lowest point in their lives. These were real people who were so loved by God, that they became commited to expressing God’s love through their ministries. They were once people that most of us would find very hard to love. But they were changed through the Holy Spirit acting in their lives and in the lives of those who brought the gospel to them. There will always be people who we find unlovable. There will always be groups of people we find hard to love. And maybe our observations about them are right. They might be obnoxious, arrogant, , hurtful and just downright evil. But the Bible tells us that God calls on us to love all people – the good and the bad, the lovable and the unlovable. This is especially true for the people who consider themselves to be part of the church – the body of Christ. Not only are we expected to love all people, but we are to proclaim that message to the whole world.

There is no way that anyone can teach you to love someone who you believe to be unlovable. It’s not something you can learn. Actually, you already have the ability to love the unlovable. God gave all of us that ability. The problem is that we choose not to use that ability. So what should we do about that? We must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will make it possible for us to see beyond the undesirable characteristics and actions, whether real or imagined, of the person we say we cannot love. The Holy Spirit will make it possible for us to see in that person, one who is a child of God, with the potential for repentance and rebirth in Christ.

We can refuse the Holy Spirit entry into our lives. God gave us a free will to accept or reject what is offered to us. But when we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives, it will no longer be a matter of loving the unlovable. It will be a matter of the unlovable becoming lovable.

Grace  and  peace,  Ray


We welcome any comments and questions you might want to share with us and others. We expect to publish a new Bible study on or about October 10.

(you can contact us by E-mail at (pastorray8070@gmail.com). Please note that this is a new e-mail address.).


We have also written an extensive reference – How to Study the Bible – which you can always access by clicking on the “Study Guide” tab above.

You might also find it helpful to view web-sites which contain complete texts of various  versions of the Bible, as well as additional material helpful for Bible study, such as (www.biblestudytools.com) and  (www.biblios.com)

We also invite you to view our other web-sites, as follows:

* Our blog, Today’s Enlightenment at www.rohmnj.wordpress.com.

* Ray Gough’s e-book , noted below, which can be read, downloaded, or copied free at http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography


    How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

This entry was posted in Bible, Church, Faith, Faith, Forgiveness, God's grace, God's Will, Good News, Holy Spirit, Hope, Jesus, Life Style, Love, Salvation. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s