Encouragement 04-08-04

April 8, 2004

Encouragement for Today


Loving the Unlovely

Rebecca Ingram Powell - Author, Certified Speaker



Key Verse:


“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7





I had an interesting conversation with an engaging 5-year-old recently. Kamika was telling me about her kindergarten and some of her classmates. As we chatted, I commented that I liked her ponytail. She replied, “Jonathan keeps pulling it.”


Kamika is a beautiful girl, and I am sure boys will always be trying to get her attention. I asked her, “Do you know why he pulls your hair?”


“Yes,” she nodded emphatically. “He’s mean. Nobody likes him.”


“Really?” I was surprised. “Nobody?”


“I mean it. He doesn’t have any friends.”


My heart sank as I thought about this little boy who only wants attention. It’s sad that his schoolmates have already labeled him as mean and are treating him accordingly.


Who knows when or exactly how it gets started, but in our society we tend to stick labels on people with super glue. We do it as children, and unfortunately, sometimes we are guilty of continuing this practice as adults. Kamika, however, is a sweet, loving child. Maybe she could make a difference in Jonathan’s life.


“Kamika,” I asked, do you think Jonathan doesn’t have any friends because he’s mean, or do you think maybe Jonathan is mean because he doesn’t have any friends?”


Kamika’s eyes grew wide. With a nervous giggle, she shrugged her shoulders and answered, “I don’t know!”


We may never know. But it is definitely worth thinking about. Jesus made it His lifestyle to love the unlovely. He was and remains today the Friend of the friendless, the Lover of the loveless, and the Hero of the helpless. As you are dealing with the unlovely ones in your world today, remember that God sees them and He believes they are beautiful. When your ponytail gets yanked, offer forgiveness and friendship. Label the unlovely one with love.



My prayer for today:


Dear Father, May my heart forgive others today the way You have forgiven me: totally. Help me to let Christ love others through me. Help me to remember that love is an action. I don’t have to feel it. I am called to show it, even as You have shown it to me. You will take care of my feelings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Application Steps:


Read the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).



Reflection points:


Think about the people with whom you interact day after day. Who is lingering at the edge of the crowd, longing for friendship?


Is there an unlovely one in your life? What are some ways you can show love to this person?


We’ve all felt left out and unlovely at one time or another. Thank God that His love for us is unconditional. In His crowd, no one feels left out!



Power Verses:


1 Corinthians 13:1, If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (NAS)


Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (NAS)


Matthew 5:44, But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (NAS)


Luke 6:32, If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (NAS)


John 13:34, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (NAS)


Romans 8:35, Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (NLT)



Additional Resources:


The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman



The Power of a Simple Life by Mary Southerland


P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries



Originally published Thursday, 08 April 2004.