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5461682694_71603149e3_zLike all things, what God asks of us is always what is good for us… including things that take a lot of work; maybe most especially the things that take a lot of work.

We have to stretch ourselves to become stronger. We have to practice using our muscles in different ways for them to be able to do more in the long-term.

And the same is true for our hearts when it comes to being gentle, kind & loving the unlikable — the people who hurt us, the people who are difficult, the people who have used us or who have disdain for us…

We are called to love them, too.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you.” – Mathew 5:44,46

And even though stretching our hearts to make room for loving them can be uncomfortable, it is not only asked of us, but it will shape us ever more into the people God means for us to be.

Here’s a story of how that call — to love the unlikable — showed one woman that it was the best for both people involved; the one who needed to do the loving, and the person who needed the loving.

She writes, “(God) let me see that this woman didn’t feel loved by others. Her own bitterness alienated her from love. So I did as he asked. It’s amazing how something so simple could transform a person’s attitude. We didn’t end up becoming the best of friends, but her attitude toward me changed completely. Peace reigned between us… (It’s a) spiritual exercise, so to speak. It’s good to have our hearts ready to welcome those the Lord sends our way.