“But They Treat Me Badly!”


How do we love people when they’re unlovely, treat us poorly, or act ugly to us?

First John 3:16 says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God. Because he laid down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” That word translated “perceive” here is ginosko. If you look it up in your concordance, you’ll find it can be translated as “to perceive, to know, to recognize, or to feel.” 

You and I can feel—or have affection for—the love of God. That means after we make a decision to love other people unconditionally, the feeling of love will come. We will perceive or feel God’s love as we begin serving others, just because He served us. Eventually, we’re going to begin feeling love for others. That is the emotional capacity we’ve all been created to have, which is intended to sustain you and make you consistent in loving the unlovely.

Let me talk about our emotional capacity for just a minute. Our emotions are part of our soulish man. Our soul is made up of our mind (intellect), our will (where we make our decisions), and our emotions. When we first receive data, we process it intellectually. Our mind measures all of the input it gets. On the basis of that input, we enact our will and make a decision.

God says in Deuteronomy chapter 30 that all our decisions fall into one of two categories: life and blessing or death and cursing. The Bible also says that a wavering or double-minded man receives nothing from the Lord. This is where your emotions come in. Your emotions provide staying power for the decisions you make.

Many people make decisions on the basis of how they feel and don’t use their reasoning at all. Others make decisions without an emotional basis and have no staying power to continue in the decision they made.

We need to learn to involve both our intellect and our emotions. Once you make a decision, you become emotionally involved in it because that’s what enables you to sustain the decision you make.

Emotions are stirred by what you meditate on. If you want to stop smoking, stir up your emotions by thinking about how that little cigarette is killing you and how foolish it is to be in bondage to something so little. “The Devil has no right to put this on me.” Start talking to yourself and getting yourself stirred up about why it is good to stop smoking. Get righteously indignant and thoroughly aggravated that smoking is dominating your life; otherwise, you’ll never get rid of it. It is those emotions that will sustain you in the decision to quit.

What is the emotional capacity to sustain us in our decision to love other people? It is the feeling of love or affection that comes for certain people. For example, who are the easiest people in the world to serve? They are the people you feel affection for. If we could only learn to feel the kind of emotion for the unlovely that comes naturally for some people, we could sustain our decision to give to them.

So how does this happen? As we make a decision to begin serving, just because of what Jesus did for us, we’ll begin to feel the kind of emotion for that person that will enable us to be consistent in loving them.

Now God doesn’t require you to feel affection for people who hate you and treat you spitefully and do you wrong. It’s hard to feel affection for somebody who has done things despitefully to you. Affection generally comes to you as people respond to your love. As people respond to your love and they begin giving of themselves to you, then affection can grow.

When somebody doesn’t respond to your love and they continue to misuse you or treat you wrongly, you’re not going to feel affection for them. There is another emotional response, though, that will come as a result of your decision to serve even those who are ugly to you. You will feel compassion. We see this on every occasion where Jesus ministered to multitudes and miracles were the result. He couldn’t have known them in a way that would have produced affection, but He did feel compassion.

So you’ll feel one of two things for people. You’ll begin to feel affection for them or you’ll begin to feel compassionate toward them. These feelings are something you need to believe for, ask for, and look for because this is what sustains you in your decision to love other people.

Ask God to give you compassion for somebody who treats you ugly. Ask Him to help you to see them the way He sees them, to show them to you through His eyes. As He does, that compassion will rise within you, and it will sustain you in your decisions to give and to love.

So the third thing that sustains you in your decision to love is allow the feeling of love to become a part of your approach to other people. I’ll share the fourth element in getting rid of fear in next week’s blog post.

About Mac Hammond

Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a nondenominational church located in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. Pastor Hammond also hosts the Winner's Minute and the Winner's Way television broadcasts and has authored several internationally distributed books . Mac Hammond is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living. Mac Hammond graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1965 with a Bachelor's degree in English. Upon graduation, he entered the Air Force with a regular officer's commission and reported for pilot training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. Mac received his wings in November 1966, and subsequently served two tours of duty in Southeast Asia, accumulating 198 combat missions. He was honorably discharged in 1970 with the rank of Captain. Between 1970 and 1980, Mac was involved in varying capacities in the general aviation industry including ownership of a successful air cargo business serving the Midwestern United States. A business acquisition brought Mac and his wife Lynne Hammond to Minneapolis where they ultimately founded Living Word Christian Center in 1980.

One response to ““But They Treat Me Badly!””

  1. Shirley Tuttle says :

    Awesome message for all of us, When reading all of this I could relate to all being said. I use to smoke I am free from that as of July 10th six years ago. I had believed in Christ for this and I was ready to Surrender my full life to him not just a part of it all if it. I did notice changes coming on. As God was changing me people really started to reject me and it was so painful. They could see the change and some thought I was just going though a fade of some sort. but my faith became stronger and they knew it, I was threated by my owe husband that he would divorce me, if I continued going to church and I knew it was Evil behind it, literally trying to put fear in me and at time’s I did get scared, but my new life was what I wanted! And I continued to move on forward an basically told the devil to take a hike. I grew with strength and the others well they have accepted it and seen to be very gentle on the matter, so do not give up. God will and had always sustained me. Glory to him. The one scripture I hung on was do no cast your peals before swine’s, and lean not on your own understanding. The moment we speak the work into a situation it goes to work for us. It sure is the ” Living Word” it is alive and it has substance to it. We just need to believe and have faith in what God tells us. The rest he does. Amen!

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