Something that tends to make the people that would be “unlovable” is that we cannot trust them, and holding them accountable is not easy. These unlovables are manipulative and some are quite charming when it suits them. Or they are intimidating and we fear crossing them out of fear they will harm us in some way, even possibly becoming violent.
Accountability is an important component in loving these people. Helping them understand that their actions have consequences for them and others is a part of loving them. At the same time, enforcing the accountability is hard! It seems so much easier to just let things go on as they always have, making excuses for them, and cleaning up their messes when we can. We are not helping them by doing this.
You see, when a wife covers the drunks bounced check, she has just bought him his next drink. Often she does this because it just becomes too difficult to fight against him and she holds out the hope that he will change. What she fails to realize is that giving in to them makes them more unlovely and not better. I have learned that there comes a time when giving grace to an unlovable person is detrimental to them. There is a better way!
We must realize that we are helping them when we enforce the rules we set down and stop buying into their excuses, manipulations, and blame shifting and charming smiles.
How many times have we found ourselves bowing down to our idol of peace and convenience, caving in so to speak when we would have been better pursuing God’s will by proper biblical correction.
“As much as I dislike holding him accountable and all the emotional outbursts and hurt feelings it brings; I know that to do otherwise is harming him now. He takes advantage of our grace. He assumes it will be given to him and that nothing will be required of him or expected of him. Our grace is being abused and he is not seeing it as grace. He is seeing us as fools and pushovers. The grace intended to bring him to repentance and change has not accomplished that in his life. It has allowed him to continue to sin.”
So we must change our approach, be firmer, and give consequences for his lack of responsibility.
“My unlovable person is a habitual liar. She would just as soon lie as tell the truth. Even when the truth means admitting to a simple mistake, or error, she prefers to lie and make excuses. I can only point out the obvious and listen to the objections and protestations that I am wrong and she is right- even though it is plainly obvious that she is lying. It breaks my heart to be so helpless.”
“I tell her I wish I could believe her, but that I strongly suspect she is not being truthful with me. I tell her that lying destroys any remaining trust I have for her. I also tell her that I intend to check up on her story and that if I am going to find out what she told me is a lie, that I would rather hear the truth from her than someone else. Sometimes she comes clean, but at least she knows I am done allowing her to lie without being challenged.”
This parent understands that these are issues of the heart. A heart so prideful that admitting a mistake is nearly impossible for her! What is the fear about in admitting a mistake? It is about not being perfect, being found out for being human and capable of making an error. It is outrageous pride.
They make our lives so miserable. It is not a joy to be their parent. The hours when they are gone at school or work are times when peace exists in the house. We dread their coming home and look forward to the time they will leave again. And yet, we know this is not right! We sorrow because this is not how we want it to be, we want the Hallmark moments, kisses goodbye; “love you” as they walk out the door. We long for a nice family dinner, or a movie night without a conflict. As hard as we think we try it never seems to be enough. It seems we are always left in some conflict or awkward silence. Conversation is like tripping through a mine field. We desire to communicate but fear each topic will bring a new argument or some new area of dissention.
A part of every parent with an unlovable child wonders, “Where did I go wrong?” How did I mess this up so badly that he/she has turned out this way? We question ourselves constantly, sometimes holding up our other children “success stories” to the light as though to prove to ourselves it could not possibly be us that messed up. We wonder about “the bad seed” and demon possession/oppression. We wonder (constantly) about the salvation of these kids and never arrive at the answer to the elusive question of “are they really saved?”
We watch for ANY glimmer of hope or evidence to support the profession of faith they made as children in Sunday School, or Pioneer Club, or AWANA. But most of all we fear. We fear for them. We fear for their eternal destiny and we fear for them in the here and now in so many ways.
to be continued…