Saturday, July 31, 2010
When It's Hard To Love
When the best dog that ever lived, Henley the Great Dane, died last year, we were heartbroken. Still are. It took us almost two months to get to the point where we, the ultimate dog loving people, could open our hearts to love again. The only reason we did it was because we LOVE dogs and life without them in it seemed so much less.
So Mick and Stevie, the Airedales, came into our life. They came from a rescue situation after being allowed to roam free outside (and live there most of the time, I think). The contrast between the Airedale we knew, from Bunny's friend, Bailey, and these guys was big - Bailey liked being loved. But the contrast between Henley and them was exponential. Henley sought you out to love him. These guys didn't care whether we were here at all - they could find a way to amuse themselves. See above.:)
It's been HARD. They just are stand-offish dogs who don't seem to need to relate to us, even though we pet,stoke,scratch, play with, hug, talk to - do everything in our power to make them love us. When they do come close, or rarity of rarities - jump onto the couch beside us - we go nuts over them. We're doing everything we can, but the two years they spent without a real relationship with humans has hard-wired them the wrong way.
I've known some people like that over the years - haven't you? Let me lay out some typical examples for everybody.
You've tried to share the love of God with them - tried to relate to them in unselfish love - and they have turned their back on you or worse. It can be frustrating, even maddening.
You've loved them as a parent or grandparent and tried to help them grow, gave them advice and even correction - all out of love and a deep desire to see them grow up to be good. But they aren't. They're still making mistakes and bad choices even though they know better.
You've been everything a wife or husband should be, believing that over time the serious flaws in their character or their lack of interest in all things "God" might change - would change. But it hasn't. And they haven't.
Now what? Is there an expiration date on love? Read this -
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. 2 Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Eph 5:1-2 (MSG)
Don't stop loving. Don't give up. Loving to get something, even if it's a good thing, isn't the extravagant love that Jesus gave us. It doesn't have the power that loving for love's sake - like Jesus did - does.
Here at the Wilson house, we're committed to these most unloving dogs. We're going to love them every chance we get because we LOVE LOVING DOGS. Yes, these are hard to love, but that just makes those times when they do respond that much sweeter. We love loving dogs,so the emphasis is going to be on that, not their response.
We're going to "Love like that."
Try it with the hard to love people in your lives. Just love loving them - put your focus there and not on their response - and trust in God to provide the results in His time. Love like Jesus.