Loving Those Who Are Like Us

I recently read a blog post titled, How to Love the Unlovable, in which the author identifies six different personality types that can often be frustrating, followed by six different approaches we can take to make them more bearable. Of course, as with all such posts (this one included), the author makes some great points made, and some that are less so. Nevertheless, I'm not interested in going through the entire article, weighing the merits of every point made. Instead, I want to focus on one point. Indeed, the strongest point, which the author refers to as, "humanize."

After describing the six different personality types that can be quite annoying, the author suggests humanizing the person. She writes:
"Remember that everyone has similar struggles. Your unlovable probably has a family, a job, self-esteem issues, an illness or something else that makes them who they are. They are dealing with all that life has to offer just like you. Ask them about their life instead of focusing on their bad habit."
That's good advice. Really. Learning to recognize why other people do the things they do is one of the most important aspects of healthy relationships. Call it, understanding, compassion, empathy, or what have you, if we don't want to be all alone in this world, we have to be able to accept people with all their flaws and failures, continuing to offer forgiveness whenever needed; yet, there's more to it than that.

Though the author alludes to it in the first part of her explanation when she says, "Remember, that everyone has similar struggles," she never quite gets to the fundamental issue that makes this possible.

Yes! Everyone does have similar struggles. Why? Because we live in a fallen and broken world. All of us are selfish. All of us are sinful. Everyone needs God's forgiveness and grace. Those who annoy us are ultimately no different that we are. At some level, we are all frustrating, annoying, and unlovable.

Consequently, to say that we have to "humanize" others, without also recognizing our own faults and failures, may get us through a frustrating situation, but eventually, it will lead to an attitude of arrogance, pride, and self-righteousness in our hearts, if we do not recognize that, ultimately, we are no different.

To really "love the unlovable," we must learn to see ourselves, as we see them— as unlovable.

For further reflection
Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6, 64:6; Romans 3:10-18, 3:23, 6:23