February 12, 2023
loving the unlovely

loving the unlovely


With all honesty, I admit that I’m not a sappy person and I’m definitely not a romantic, but with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, my mind keeps circling back to the topic of love. Not necessarily the love of a spouse or a parent or a friend, but the love of God.

If you’ve read even a little from the Bible, you know one of the main themes is God‘s love for us. The rebellious, the wayward, the faithful… God‘s love is consistent for each one of us! We read in the book of John about the greatest gift of love that anyone could ever give. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV) It’s humbling to consider the magnitude of this verse! There are so many people that I really love, so many relationships that I’ve been truly blessed with! But would I die for each of them, would I willingly die for any of them?

This verse highlights the enormity of that very gift, the gift of laying down one’s life for someone that you love. It’s totally mind blowing to me, but what’s even more incredible is the love that Christ displayed when he went to the cross for us. For all of us. Those who loved him and those who scorned him. Those who served alongside him and those who spit upon him. Those who cared for his broken body after his spirit had departed and those who had nailed his body to the wooden cross. What he displayed was so much more than the concept we read about in John 15:13.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 (NIV) This describes the supernatural love that Jesus has for each one of us. He not only died for those that loved him. He died for us, while we were yet sinners. It’s a love that’s really hard to understand! 

loving the unlovelyAs a Christ follower for much of my life, it’s easy for me get tied up in prideful reasoning. To think how easy it must be, at times, to love me. And then there are those days where I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Those days where everything I hear gets twisted and each word I speak has a selfish agenda attached to it. It’s on those days, when I am so unlovely that I can’t even stand living in my own skin, when I realize how miraculous God’s love is for me. How on earth could God love me in those times when I can’t even stand myself? I can’t fathom it. I can’t even put into words how very thankful I am for it! 

So then, what’s my response to such a love? My initial response is gratefulness. But as I think beyond myself, my response needs to be so much more than that. Before Jesus’s earthly time was over, he left us with such an important command. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)

It’s not always easy to love the lovely, and it’s excruciatingly difficult to love the unlovely. But that’s what God did for us and that’s what he calls us to do for our fellow man. As you’re considering Valentine’s Day, brainstorming about all the sweet things you can do to show your affection to those you love, consider how you might show the love of Christ to those who are unlovely in your life and in your community. 

How can you show Christ’s love to someone who may have never felt it before? We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ. What could that look like in your life this Valentine’s Day?

by Sherry Libby

Sherry LibbySherry Libby enjoys teaching Cardio Strength & Flexibility™ classes in Greencastle, PA. She is certified in Group Fitness by ACE. Her motto is “Strive for progress, not perfection“. She is a busy wife and mom to three kids ranging from middle school through college. Sherry worked for many years as a nurse but hung up her stethoscope in 2008 to be involved in ministry. She loves teaching fitness classes and is involved in the Worship and Women’s ministries at her church.