THE HARD TO LOVE
THE HARD TO LOVE
1 Samuel 1
New Living Translation (NLT)
Elkanah and His Family
1 There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. 2 Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.
3 Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. 4 On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children. 5 And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children. 6 So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. 7 Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
8 “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”
Imagine that – going to the tabernacle each year was a painful experience for Hannah. The way she was treated in the Lord’s house by someone who loved her caused her to “be reduced to tears” and stop her from eating.
All because she was different. She had no children.
In a perfect world, this would shock up. We would be horrified at the way someone was treated, and would feel terrible that the temple was not a safe place for a person who was already struggling in her personal life because she couldn’t fall pregnant.
But this is not a perfect world and the sad reality is that you and I are more than likely guilty of doing the same thing – making someone feel unwelcome in God’s house because they are different.
The Kingdom of God is for everyone – fat, thin, pretty, ugly, smart, simple, introverted, extroverted. Yet, we often put people into boxes and tend to make the ‘impressive’ people feel more welcome that the socially awkward, irritating or frustrating people.
In addition to the the Kingdom of God being for everyone, we also need to remember that everyone has a story. Everyone is working through something. In most cases, we will never know what it is.
A CALL TO ACTION
Treating people differently in the Kingdom of God because they are different is not God honouring. Yes, it is hard to love some people – we can be honest about that. But, sometimes it’s hard for people to love us as well. That is why we need to keep loving, even when it isn’t easy.
Today, think of someone that you haven’t been treating well. If no one comes to mind – that’s great, keep loving God’s people like that. But if someone does, then decide to change that. Greet that person with a smile when you see him/her again. Have a conversation. Make them feel welcome.
A PRAYER TO PRAY
Lord thank you that you love me even when I make it difficult. Thank you that eventhough I don’t deserve your favour, you give it to me anyway. Please help me to love the people in your church that frustrate me or make it difficult for me to love them. Help me to be a vessel of your love to them for your glory. Amen.