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Loving When We Don't Feel Like It
Choosing to show love despite our feelings is the right response every time. It can yield surprising results.

Valentine's Day is all about love and the trimmings – cards, flowers, and chocolate. Men and women alike shop for the ideal gift for someone special. But here's a thought that recently occurred to me – how many of us make an effort to demonstrate love in practical ways to those we have difficulty liking? You know, the prickly co-worker, family member, or neighbour?

Loving the lovable is easy. It's a royal challenge, however, when someone is impolite, short-tempered, or sharp-tongued. That's when we're forced to make a choice: Simply forget about that person, or demonstrate love even though we don't feel like it.

Choosing to show love despite our feelings is the right response. Doing so usually reaps rewards, albeit in ways we might not anticipate. This anecdote, taken from 750 Engaging Illustrations, demonstrates this principle:

Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him; I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.”

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan. “Go home and act as if you really loved your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you're getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.”

With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!”

And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if” for two months, she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing.

When she didn't return, Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?”

“Divorce!” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion.”

Do you know someone who's difficult to love? This month, think of a practical way – or ways – to show kindness. And then take it a step or two further. Ask the Lord to change your attitude by helping you see this person as He sees him/her. Pray for God's blessing of protection and health over him/her. And thank the Lord for putting this individual into your life.

Motion results in emotion. Demonstrating love even when we don't feel like it yields results. Our actions may not change the other person, but they might change us, and that's okay!

Grace Fox lives in Abbotsford, B.C. She and her husband direct International Messengers Canada, an organization that offers creative short-term and career ministry opportunities in Eastern Europe. The mother of three children, Grace has chronicled her journey of trust in three devotional books entitled 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms; 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women; 10-Minute Time Outs for You & Your Kids and also her latest, Moving from Fear to Freedom. Her website is:


Originally published in the newsletter, Growing with Grace, February 2009.




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