Learning to Love the
Unlovely. by George L. Faull
Will Rogers is reputed to have
said, “I’ve never met a man I
didn’t’ like.” Most of us cannot
say that. And yet, as a
Christian, many of us can
honestly say, “I never met a man I didn’t want to
like.” On the other hand, one of the most
common sins I find among us is “grudge
I have seen this moral disease devour
Christians. Hatred spreads throughout their
very being. It causes one to lose the joy of his
salvation. His peace with God slowly ebbs
away. Soon the disease has spread into his
“witnessing” and “stewardship”. He begins to
dry up and be but a semblance of what he used
to be Spiritually. We cannot help but pity those
who have been smitten by this spiritual malady.
An old High School friend wrote me sometime
ago. She had asked me how to love the cruel.
“How can I adjust my thinking to Christ-like
thinking toward those who have sinned against
me? How do you distinguish between the sin
and the sinner?” These are pertinent questions.
I do not know of anyone who has not grappled
with them. The Christian must seek solutions
for such questions.
FIRST – Visualize Christ dying on the cross
because He loved this person in spite of his sin.
He did do that, you know! Christ loved that
person enough to die for him. He suffered the
agony of the soul at Gethsemane for him. He
accepted the mocking of Pilate’s hall for him.
He suffered the torture of Calvary for him. Can
you not love him for whom Christ, your Savior
gave His all? You love a pesky dog because
your little boy loves him. Should you not love a
man for whom God’s Son died? How can you
not love him whom Christ loves?
SECOND – Consider the potential as well as
The following illustrated concept may help. A
man walked briskly into a sculptor’s studio and
saw an unfinished statue of Abraham Lincoln. It
still looked a little unlike Lincoln, so he smashed
it to smithereens.
Another man walked aimlessly into the studio of
a famous painter. An uncompleted picture of a
beautiful woman was on the easel. He looked
closely at the picture and saw it did not yet do
justice to the one who had posed. He took the
picture off the easel and lit a match to the
canvas and watched it burn.
In the first instance, a majestic statue may have
been destroyed. In the second, a masterpiece
of art may have been denied to the world.
Why? Because they were not valued in their
unfinished state. The people never gave
enough time for the creators to complete their
The kids today are wearing buttons that say,
“Please be patient with me, God’s not through
with me yet.” I like that concept. See the man
you do not like as an unfinished creation of God.
THIRD – Look for the good points in the person
you dislike and imagine how wonderful he could
be if he surrendered his life to Christ.
"From the cowardice that shrinks from
new truth, from the laziness that is content
with half truths, from the arrogance that
thinks it knows all truth, O, God of Truth,
deliver us."2 THE GOSPEL UNASHAMED January 2010
Imagine his abilities turned to Christ’s work.
Think what a powerhouse he could be if
converted to the cause of Christ.
FOURTH – Pray for him earnestly. It is hard to
hate one whom you are bringing before God’s
throne in prayer. Pray for his reformation. Pray
that the “burr that is under his saddle” may
somehow be removed. Let that prayer activate
you into helping him locate that burr. Pray that
you may see the reflection of God’s image in
him so that you may more easily love him.
God’s image in him is blurred by sin. Pray that
the image might be restored.
FIFTH – Try to find why the person is as he is
by inquiring into his background. Ugly
experiences make ugly people. Was he
mocked as a child? Did his parents reject him?
Was he living in the shadow of an older sibling?
What warped the personality? Then you may
find yourself his sympathetic friend rather than
his bitter enemy.
SIXTH – See yourself in this person. Have
there not been times that you too were unfair
and cruel? Are you not someone else’s villain
at times? Physical cruelty is sometimes not as
cruel as mental cruelty. Pouting, revenge,
coldness, unforgiveness, are sins more
common and cruel than physical abuse. Are
you always a loving person? Are you always
the one who is ready to forgive? Are you
SEVENTH – Look at the person through the
eyes of eternity. Do you wish him to be lost?
Move toward him as you would toward one who
unknowingly is about to plunge into Hell. When
you have that interest, your compassion may be
just what will transform him.
EIGHTH – Remember that he is not sin. He
may be a murderer but he is not “murder”. He
may be an adulterer, but he is not “adultery”.
Love the sinner but hate the sin. Anger at sin is
not wrong. Jesus became angry at the
hardness of men’s hearts when they
complained that He healed on the Sabbath. He
zealously drove men from the temple when they
perverted it with graft. But He died for those
I do not believe I ever met a person in whom
there was not some good, enough at least to
respond to genuine concern. People often fight
back at a cruel world they don’t understand or
that doesn’t understand them. If they can ever
comprehend the love of Christ for them
personally, and if they can experience Christ’s
love through His Body, the Church, they can
lose their frustrations and be transformed men.
Love produces love. God’s kind of love is not
loving the lovable but loving those who oppose
themselves. This kind of love is really not
produced merely by such arguments as I have
given. It must be prayed for from the source of
God is love.