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How to Love the Kid You Hate (Did I say That Out Loud?)

"Be careful with your words. Once they’re said, they can only be forgiven not forgotten."

- Carl Sandberg

This is one topic that made me cringe when I asked for some direction on blogs and things to write about. Truly, I recoiled from it as if it were a snake, spider, lizard—Its Florida, insert any number of toe curling, screech inducing critter you’d like! Honestly, I don’t know how to do this. I am in the midst of attempting to twist this topic into a how to be the bigger person moment. How to love those who need it most if you will. The nice, the fluffy, the stomach churning, eye-rolling bogus lesson we all smirk at. All right, I’ll love some, not all, and especially not that one!

"Mercy triumphs over judgement."

James 2:13

It hit me last Sunday as Pastor Jack was giving us a truly great sermon! Seriously! You should check it out! It’s on the 5th commandment and it is spot on! Anyway, as I was listening I had a moment of clarity. What if I was “the kid” that others hated? More than likely I was. Truth be told, I get on my own nerves a lot of the time, so I can imagine those around me needing a break. I don’t talk a lot, but when I do I have so much to say! I’m awkward and kind of uncoordinated. I want to be cool, but it’s not my forte. This got me thinking about how I watch my own children. I have 5 of them, and let’s just say they are beyond individual in every aspect of who they are with this being the understatement of the century! I love each one of them for who they are and their uniqueness. So, that being said, if I look at my own children in this way, does God look at us like this too? They get on my nerves! They make me laugh! I delight in their accomplishments. I grieve their failures and heartbreak. I love them to the end of who I am and back! I want them to make good choices. I want them to live wholesome lives. I want them to be all the things. Is it possible God does this too? He is, after all our Heavenly Father. The Great I Am!! So, how does God handle us…the annoying kids?

My prayer life is probably not ordered the way it should be. I’m terrible about keeping a structured mature routine in this area of my life. I do pray a lot, but in a constant chatter type litany of a 3 year old who has just discovered the art of “conversation”. It is a constant dialogue with God. I imagine after a particularly long day with me He is grateful I’m finally asleep. Picturing Him with His chin in His hand giving the side eye to whichever angel is closest makes me giggle a little. But, I also think of Him enjoying and indulging me with the love only a Father can give. That all knowing encompassing love and acceptance found only in His presence. If we follow this line of thinking does God find us irritating? Are we “that kid” that He dreads. I think in a sense at some point in all of our lives we have been. The kid whose mouth was just a bit too much or a bit too saucy. The way too honest kid. The messy kid. The smelly kid. The mean kid. The bully kid. The kid that just breaks your heart in their mired muck of lost. The kid that is a hidden gem of soul but covered in a heap of habits and behaviors that make them difficult to like much less love.

We’ve all been that kid. We’ve been someone that someone else could not stand. Is it because they shine a light on our own faults? Do they highlight a shortcoming within our own character to accept and overcome? Is it because we don’t have the patience to deal with the hard stuff? Is it an un-pretty picture that inconveniences our lives and mars the outside beauty we are attempting to portray? YES!! The answer is yes to all of these! That’s why Jesus is so pivotal in His relationship to us! He shows us how to get over ourselves and love one another! He gives us countless examples of how to do this. From the abhorrent little tax collector, the maimed, the afflicted, the soiled, the wretched, the lost and even the outwardly beautiful but inwardly ugly. He loves us all. Not because He has to, but because He wants to. He loves us so much that He gave it all up to come here and live among us.

Let’s be honest here, earth has nothing on heaven and He chose to not only come to live among us, but to die to save us! He wanted to love us better! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!! Just as you know your children, He knows you. Just as you love your children, He loves you! Sure as I’m sitting here, He knows who I am. He knows that I am doing my very best to write into words the immense love and glory found in Him and even though I will probably fall short, He is happy in my effort. Just like watching that little preschooler write their name. The delight in it! The joy in watching a baby walk. The loud cacophony of school children loving outside recess time with fresh air and sunshine. The quiet and repressed joy in watching a teenager make a good choice even at the cost of cool points. The little surprise moments you never thought you’d get to see. Watching someone so burdened with sin lay down the load and step into Him for the first time. The relief of being home, loved and saved.

If you are a parent or had any type of interaction with a toddler you know trying to exert your will onto theirs is probably a no win situation. It’s not happening. Most of us quickly come to the realization that doing a battle of wills with a toddler is a fruitless endeavor. God knew this from the onset. He knows there is no will bending here. He knows we have to choose right or wrong for ourselves. We know that little toddler needs a nap, and that it’s what’s best, but the simple fact of them not choosing causes instant diversion from the plan with any tactic they have within their arsenal to keep said nap at bay. We continue to work with them until they take the nap. We know what’s best. As a parent or caregiver it’s what we do. God knows us in the same way.

“True Christianity is always a matter of the submission of the heart to God, something that only the rescuing Grace of God can produce." – Paul David Tripp

We have to be intentional in our approach. I know what worked for one of my children would not work with the others. I had to tailor my parenting style to each of them. I didn’t change my message, just the tactics. God is going to show up in your life in the same way. He’s going to tailor His message so you hear Him. God loves us so much that He will keep showing up. He stays ever present. He is ever persistent. Even when we think we’re sneaky snakes and getting away with something. Even when we are unlovable. Even if we are sick and feeling unbelievably lost. The moment that child turns around with true repentance with a changed heart our forgiveness is instant. His heart and love extends the same way. All you have to do is meet Him wherever you are. He is always in His place waiting, watching, guiding, protecting, loving and forgiving you!

If you have a kid in your life that is hard to love, or even like, or you are that kid... extend some grace. Step down and let God step up. We are all His and beautiful in His sight.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. “ –Titus 3:4-5

Praying all good things in Him always friends!

Patricia Emery

FB: ticia.emery


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