Loving People Who Are Hard To Love


Do you ever find yourself avoiding really hard and uncomfortable relationships? Maybe it’s the person who has an abrasive or quirky personality  you just can’t stand.
The family member or fellow church go-er who deeply hurt or offended you. Or the friend who continually pushes you away. If we’re being real, it’s so much easier to turn a blind eye and disconnect, disengage, and pretend that our help, love and friendship doesn’t matter to them anyway.

My initial response to hard relationships is to simply avoid them. I don’t want to stick around because I feel awkward, inadequate and uncomfortable. I hate feeling uncomfortable! Don’t we all?

Recently, the Lord has been whispering to my heart: “Stop being afraid to get messy.

–Insert big list of BUTS–
But, I like clean, easy to get along relationships.
But, I like when we both agree.
But, I like pleasant people.
But, I HATE being offended!

On the other side of the big BUT’s is the truth: It’s effortless to show kindness to  “easy-to-love” people. ANYONE can do that. It’s really not even Christ-like. (Dang it).

“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”  -Matthew 5:46-47

If loving those who are “easy to love” isn’t really even godly, then that must mean as followers of Christ we pursue the opposite: We love when it’s hardest to.
e love the “hard to love”.

When we’re annoyed, offended, discouraged, or defeated– We love. 
When it’s easier to walk away and ignore– We stay.
When we feel pushed away–We pursue them in prayer.

The truth is, we’ve all been hard to love at some point. Without a doubt, there have been times when our brokenness and sinfulness leaked and everyone could smell it. When our attitudes sucked, negativity infiltrated our sentences, and bitterness robbed us of all joy.  Those around us could have easily walked away in annoyance and disgust (maybe some did). But then there were those who reached in and got in our mess with us. Some comforted us while we tried to figure things out and others grabbed us by the hand, yanked us right out of that pig sty and pointed us to the cross.

I am so grateful for those who stuck with me in my stank. Their willingness to love me despite my “hardness” tells me a lot about the God who pushed them to stay.Their actions told me about a God who embraces us in our brokenness when we do everything to keep Him out of it.

That is one of the things I love most about Jesus, He has never been afraid to get messy.

Hallelujah, THIS is the God we serve!
The God who didn’t sit on His throne and send somebody else to do the dirty work.
He came as a servant who rolled up His sleeves and wrapped a towel around His waist as He bowed low to reach into the mess we could never get ourselves out of.
The stench didn’t scare Him. The wounds didn’t gross Him out.
Because instead of staring at the clutter, He saw His children.
Though the hardness of our hearts screamed, “Go Away!”. He knew better. They were really crying out, “Come, save me.”

It’s a beautiful thing when we start to see those “hard to love” people the way Christ sees us. We get a little more compassionate because we can identify with them.

At the end of my life, I don’t want to be found in the spic-and-span, tidied up places. I want to be found amongst the sty I once lived in with my sleeves rolled up, holes in my jeans and dirt under my fingernails having been the hands and feet of the One who isn’t afraid to get messy. 

What about you? 



  1. Mandy Hughes

    I needed to hear this, Kaitlin!! Great post, friend <3

    05 . Feb . 2017
    • April Clevenger Boyer

      I agree Kaitlin. I hated to get dirty when I just a little child. I’d run to mom to wash the mud pies off my hands. I dislike doing ‘messy’ crafts. And I like things nice and easy when it comes to relationships and loving. Thanks for using an the image of Jesus getting down and messy with me, in whatever loving relationship I need to be in.

      08 . Feb . 2017
      • Kaitlin Garrison

        I’m right there with ya– messy isn’t my thing! Thankfully we have a savior who gives us a very good example of what that looks like 🙂

        08 . Feb . 2017
  2. Kelli LaFram

    Amen, amen, and amen!

    08 . Feb . 2017
  3. Melissa

    This was really good! A great reminder of what it really means to be Christlike! Thank you!!

    08 . Feb . 2017
    • Kaitlin Garrison

      Thank YOU for stopping by!!

      08 . Feb . 2017
  4. Liz

    I’ll be sharing this on my blog! It ties right in with my word of the year! 🙂

    08 . Feb . 2017
    • Kaitlin Garrison

      That is so awesome! Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

      08 . Feb . 2017
  5. inkblotsofhope- Sarah

    Convicting, yet encouraging read! I especially loved your last line, Kaitlin, “At the end of my life, I don’t want to be found in the spic-and-span, tidied up places. I want to be found amongst the sty I once lived in with my sleeves rolled up, holes in my jeans and dirt under my fingernails having been the hands and feet of the One who isn’t afraid to get messy.”

    Also wanted to mention you have a cute blog. Love the photo of yourself as well as your personal logo on the photos- so adorable!

    08 . Feb . 2017
    • Kaitlin Garrison

      You’re so sweet! Thank you so much for your encouragement and for stopping by! That means so much to me!!

      08 . Feb . 2017
  6. Jennifer

    So true. Though it’s certainly no picnic, it’s God working in us and through us that we are able to show people Christ-like love. Even when our hard hearts are screaming to push them away. His Spirit gently prompts us to stay. There are certain people that I love only from a distance, but if they ever need help with anything, I’m there.

    09 . Feb . 2017
    • Kaitlin Garrison

      I am right there with you– It’s only through his strength that we can love others like He does. Thank goodness for Hus power in us!! Thank you for stopping by!!

      09 . Feb . 2017
  7. Charlotte Ludolph

    Such a good thing to remember! No matter what season of life we’re in, there will always be at least one person who gets on our nerves and rubs us the wrong way. Our pastor’s wife preached a sermon once about the lady who followed the disciples around, basically heckling them as they preached the good news. They tried to ignore her in hopes that she’d go away, but she never did. One day, Paul turned and gave her the attention she sought. These people are not in our lives by accident. We need to discover what God would have us do to be Jesus to them. What are we to learn from them? How are we to respond? How can we grow? Thanks for the reminder! Good luck with your blog.

    10 . Feb . 2017
    • Kaitlin Garrison

      Wow! I never looked at that story that way! That’s so true– We do need to discover why God allowed us to cross paths with them. I’m going to start thinking of that story now 🙂 Thank you for sharing that and for stopping by!!

      10 . Feb . 2017
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