10 Ways to Love the People at Church When You Don’t Want To

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You can read tons of posts about loving or not loving the church, but the truth is it's not the church that frustrates us. It's the people...

You can read tons of posts about loving or not loving the church, but the truth is it’s not the church that frustrates us. It’s the people in the church. The church as the family of believers. And…

Families are messy and church families are no exception because any time you put imperfect people together . . . well, you get messy.

And it’s hard to love messy people isn’t it?

But that’s exactly what we’re called to do. Love messy people . . . just like us.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34–35

How is this big messy faith family supposed to obey Jesus’ command, live together and represent Him to the world? What exactly does this love for one another look like?

10 Ways to Love Each Other in the Church

1. Look at every person as someone deeply loved by God – because they are.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

2. Pray for each other intentionally – especially the ones who annoy you. 

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:44

3. Share with each other as God leads you – what He’s given . . . your possessions and abilities.

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32

4. Spend time with one another – come together regularly.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42

5. Reassure each other with the truth – always spoken in love with compassion.

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

6. Quickly forgive one another – even when it’s hard.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

7. Listen to each other with kindness and compassion – slow to speak or get angry.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19

You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Luke 6:36

8. Care for one another – pay attention. Really get to know the needs of others.

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 1 Corinthians 12:25–26

9. Encourage each other – there is strength when we stand together.

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

10. Make an effort to simply get along with each other – have a good attitude.

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Romans 14:19

You can read tons of posts about loving or not loving the church, but the truth is it's not the church that frustrates us. It's the people...

Groups are known for all kinds of things, but Jesus said groups of believers should be known for one thing . . . love! 

Jesus-like love . . . unconditional, sacrificial, and forgiving.

I know it’s not easy. There’s that woman who is soooo annoying and the guy who insists on always doing things the OLD way. But we can do this. The problems aren’t new. Read Paul’s letters to the churches. It’s an attitude and with God’s help, we can love the way He asks us to.

Dwight L. Moody once said, “Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community.”

We live in a time when connections with other people are harder to make and maintain. The church has the perfect opportunity to help people connect with each other through God’s love given in Jesus. And once we truly love each other well inside the church, once we show the world God’s beautiful love . . . they’ll want what we have.

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  1. Deb, this is so good — and shared from the heart. My husband and I are being more purposeful about hospitality this year. We want to invite someone into our home from our church at least once a month — January was great! We visited with a couple that we’ve known the entire time we’ve attended and this was the first time they’ve been in our home, so it was definitely time to do this!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Well, Deb, you had me at the title of this one, because I am such a prickly person that I often feel this way…and I know people often feel this way about me! And YES to this: “Families are messy and church families are no exception because any time you put imperfect people together . . . well, you get messy. And it’s hard to love messy people isn’t it?” So true…and therein lies the rub: I do so hate messy! Thank you for this practical, wise, and loving guidance. Maybe I should print this out and put it in my church bag? 😉

  3. Deb,

    The wisdom of this is so deep, yet undeniably simple, and still we miss it don’t we? As I was reading through the list the one that stood out to me most was #4. Spend time with one another. You know, one of the best ways to get past that feeling of unconnectedness is to take time for people. I was challenged and convicted by the reality that time is a commodity I have and if I am willing to give it to God to pour out on people, then I won’t feel like there is no connection. The connector is God, He is our common denominator… it is enough. 😉

    Great words of wisdom, as always.

  4. Hey Deb,
    Thank you for the reminder and the strategies for loving messy people. I love that quote by D. L. Moody too. Love really does create a powerful community. Thank you for these encouraging posts and for being a part of making our churches a better place, by remind us to fill them with love and grace. Wishing you a blessed week!

  5. These are such great suggestions, Deb! Not all people have our favorite personalities or are easy to get along with. However, with God’s strength (and advice from the Bible!) we can learn to love our neighbors! There is no need to be rude or cold to others in our churches. In fact, that is contrary to God’s word as you have so beautifully pointed out. Thanks for the great reminder that with God, we can get along!

    And, thanks for the “shout out” on my post of last week – Shaken Foundations. What a surprise to come here to day and see it highlighted! What a blessings!

    In Him, Joan

  6. I enjoyed this post very much. I appreciate that you put scripture with each of your points. I’m going to keep a copy of those scriptures with my prayer notebook, because … sometimes I forget. 😉

    Love that quote from Moody – it is so true!

  7. Deb, thanks for hosting this link-up. As always, you have some great wisdom here. I especially like #1. View each person as deeply loved by God. So simple, yet so revolutionary. Now if we’d just do it! 🙂

    Wonderful quote from Dwight L. Moody, too.

  8. I have certainly found that it is easier to love the unlovable when I stop and remember God loves them unconditionally, just as He does me. As Christians, we are called first to love, and love so greatly, that the world, indeed, wants to have what we do.
    Wonderful inspiration, as always, Deb!

  9. It’s true that we are a “big messy faith family” just like any family, called to love each other. I just had this talk with my kids yesterday who were calling names and having a “me first” attitude. Sometimes we have to go back to the basics and remember that we are called to love, forgive and to treat others how we want to be treated. We expect this from our own families and yet when it happens in the church we can be far less forgiving because we don’t think it “should” happen there. That’s probably why so many leave the church. This was a great post!

  10. Deb, Your post is so timely for me. I know I’m to love people at church, however, I’m struggling with a couple individuals who I have close contact with each week. I’m praying for them and for me–I honestly do want to love them because Jesus does!


  11. Deb, this is such a good word. The enemy of our souls loves it when we are divided and angry with one another. Choosing to press in and love defeats his well-laid plans to keep us in bondage to bitterness.

  12. This is a subject I’m writing about these days as I focus on loving one another. So good to visit you again. I’ve missed connecting with you during an extended season of busy that has kept me for linking as much as I’d like. Blessings friend and thanks for this great post.

  13. Excellent post, Deb! I like how you said it’s the people in church, and not the church. So many people get hurt by others in church, and they correlate that to the church and not to the person themselves. I think it is a beautiful post on how we are supposed to live! Thanks so much for sharing and for hosting 🙂

  14. Hi Deb! I know these are powerful ways to be attentive to people I normally might not be attracted to. You are a pastors wife, so I know you’ve probably used every single one of them.

    We have to love, but maybe I don’t always feel love in the same ways. Being patient and accepting can be a great way to love someone.
    Happy Fat Tuesday!