Nellie is the girl we all loved to hate as kids. She’s the one who made us gasp at her rudeness, vindictiveness and manipulation. She told bold face lies and seemed to get away with it. (A close second was her mother, who got even more of a reaction because she was a grown up and should have known better!!) We learned how NOT to act by watching her antics.
We all have a “Nellie” in our lives. I’m sure you can think of her right now. You know—She’s the one who criticizes you, stands in your way, talks behind your back while being nice to your face. But Ma Ingalls was right. We need to love our Nellie or we are just as bad as she is.
The rude cashier. The distracted waitress. The miserable looking bank teller. The outspoken know-it-all.
The unreasonable child. The interfering mother in law. The annoying junior higher. The callous neighbor.
We need to love them. Even though it’s hard. Even though it hurts. It has to be done. The flesh needs to put down all of the excuses and reasons why you are exempt from loving, and just love them because it is the right thing to do.
The commands are plain-
“Love as I have loved you.” “Love is kind, patient, never rude.” “Love your enemies, and do good to them who despitefully use you.”
Do you love like this? Or is your “love” a self centered, self serving kind of love? Is it a Nellie love? A “Just when you want something or can get something” kind of love?
My mother was right. Hurt people hurt other people. They don’t know any other way. But we do. We know better. It is the way of sacrificial love. The way walked out by Christ for our example.
When we love well, those who mistreat us,
and they know they deserve punishment,
but instead receive gracious love,
we are never more Christlike.
And sometimes that is the kind of love that melts the heart and effects the soul.
Need some help loving that unlovely person in your life? These are books I have read and recommend:
How Can I Love Those Prickly People by Juanita Purcell (excellent Bible Study)
How To Deal With Annoying People by Bob Phillips
Peacemaking Women by Tara Barthel
Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (a MUST READ for every Christian Woman!!!)