Sometimes people are hard to love.People who take advantage of you.
People who backstab you.
People who don’t seem to appreciate you.
People who hurt someone you love.
People who can’t see how much you love them no matter how you show it.
But these people are all people.
And we are called to love people.
My husband reminds me often, usually with gentle smile and warm hug, “Remember: Thick skin and tender heart.”
Thick skin and tender heart
He is so good that.
He loves people so well.
He forgives people so fully.
Because when you’re helping those who are broken, you’ll get hurt in the process. There are people in my life who have been so hurt and broken that they can’t help but hurt those trying to help them, often just by simply assuming that everyone is out to hurt them.
And when you know someone is broken, you know that they can’t see clearly what they are doing to you, but it’s still painful to be on the receiving end of that hurt.
You know all the love and tears and time and care that you’ve poured out, but they can’t see it. And what they see as hard or painful or unfair is really what might be the best thing for them at that moment.
But in the moment it’s so easy to forget.
It’s easy to be offended.
It’s easy to get angry.
It’s easy to want to give up.
It’s easy to hold on to anger.
It’s easy to grow sensitive skin and a hard heart.
But we are called to love unconditionally.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
And it’s hard to grow a thick skin and let the hurt and the pain roll off your back and keep loving anyways.
But Jesus did.
And Jesus calls us to do the same.
And I wonder how we get to this point of loving well, until I remember that I won’t ever arrive until heaven. So maybe it’s less about having thick skin and a tender heart and more about building thick skin and plowing your heart tender.
As I push closer and closer to Jesus, He will make me like Him.
He will build my security strong in Him so that it cannot be shaken by others, and He will plow my heart tender with His gospel of grace.
So the question becomes, will I push closer to Jesus? Will I allow Him to be my thick skin and His love to soften my heart tender?