Love Him Who Deserves it Least

This quote ends with the words “because that's when he needs it most.”

As we pass by the friends, family, and strangers who have either betrayed or offended us, let's use this as an opportunity to fortify our ability to forgive.

life challenges

Let's see these moments as a time to strengthen our skills of empathy and to show authentic pity for their brokenness. Remember, we are all a result from, or a reaction to, the people we meet. Those who are hurting have just met some of the wrong folks.

In my years of dealing and leading difficult people, I have found 5 simple steps for loving those who are hard to love.

5 Steps for Loving the Unlovable:

  1. Recognize Abuse & Brokenness – We must remember that hurt people, hurt people. These individuals have likely experienced abuse which has caused brokenness and pain.
  2. Don't Reinforce Their Brokenness – As a broken person myself, it's rare that I don't recognize my own brokenness. Talk about their strengths. Broken people need less awareness, and more healing.
  3. Be Patient – Healing does not occur in a day. Broken people can be unpredictable, irrational, and frustrating. Limit your time with them, but when you are with them, be patient.
  4. Let Go – It's not your job to control people. Know that when you enter the realm of a broken person, you are willingly meeting them where they're at, not having them come to you. Relax, it's their life, not yours.
  5. Forgive Them – Extend grace and forgive them even if they're not sorry. These people are hurting and the experience of grace and forgiveness will only help them on their journey of healing.

What has helped you love broken people? Let me know in the comments below.


This blog post was written by an independent guest contributor.
Author Name: D Patridge.

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23 Responses

  1. Thank you. I have come across a few truly broken and hurting people in my life, and I usually try to help ‘fix’ them – be their outlet and steadying force. I have often ended up alone and hurting myself and I am working on how to make these relationships more constructive. Your advice is simple and memorable, thank you for posting. I hope to incorporate these words into my future.

  2. Good way of looking at broken or hurt folks be they children or adults. True, at times they are hurt and are immatured to handle their hurt feelings. They feel life has been unfair to them. They believe they deserved a better life. One way is to try to understand them and their hurt feelings and circumstances that led them to behave in the way they are. Well, I have such hurt people in my life too and I do what I do for them by doing whatever I can to enable them to lead an easier life.

  3. I understand to accept people as they are, but for me love is sacred and special and
    should go to deserving people that appreciate it AND can give back, it’s like an
    investment, why throw all your money and resources on an always losing bet?? You don’t,
    you say goodbye and walk away from the table towards a new happiness. I forgive and
    forget, but I also more on, time is the MOST precious commodity we have in this world,
    everyday gone by is lost forever.

    1. I think you’re looking at love the wrong way, to be honest. everybody deserves love, no matter what they’ve done. love isn’t something that you pick and choose who you give it out to. you give love to receive it and even if sometimes the act of love or kindness is not returned the way you want, the act may have changed someone for the better. you have this mentality that it’s a waste to love anyone and everyone but in reality the more you love, the more healing and complete you feel, for that is one of the most natural things to a human being.

  4. I too am a broken person from childhood and relationship abuse, and getting Cancer. It took me a very long time to forgive my abusers and one now who i am contiually almost daily having to forgive. But knowing because i forgive does not mean i continue allowing them to hurt me. I pray for him and offer whatever i can to help his healing process. It isnt easy but i know it’s what god wants me to do. A person has to be ready for healing and to be different. We cant do it for them which makes it frustrating at times. But it can be done i am living proof.

  5. Often I get frustrated with the things I read from friends on Facebook. These five steps helped me realize I need to love them and stop judging.

  6. How does this work with sociopaths? Sociopaths can’t feel love and by defect have no conscience or remorse for the misery they cause throughout their life.

    1. One of my favorite things about love…Is that we can love without it being reciprocated. It’s very tragic that a sociopath can’t love, but they can ‘BE loved. They can’t stop it!!!
      This is a good example of “loving from afar.” We do not have to place ourselves in harm’s way…to love. We can move past a physical love, and onto a purer love, without having it recireciprocated.
      This is where a sociopath always loses. What a sad result of abuse this is! However, you must not allow this to affect your own beautiful gift of feeling love…for anyone. You merely have to adjust how it’s shared. You can’t “share” it with them, but you can experience it, and share that new knowledge with another person facing the same “dilemma.”
      Love is powerful, and it can travel through us, and turn “hopelessness” into hope!..And it can begin with one incapable of feeling it… who’s passed through our life…and spread it in a way he could neither imagine…or control!
      I have been right there…more than once, and I know it can, ironically, fuel a much bigger love!!

  7. What has helped me love broken people? Truly understanding that their “brokenness” behavior has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. (Their experiences, interpretations, history, journey etc). To begin to mend one has to forgive and pray for a person that has tried to “break” you (due to their own brokenness) but that does not mean you have to trust them or be their friend. You are on separate journeys, different paths and difference stages in your healing. And that’s okay. You can love from afar.

  8. What helped me love broken people is one, having been a broken person myself once. And two after I was healed and had a greater understanding as to how it felt to have been broken once myself. I know how it feels to have been rejected, have the feeling of loss/separation and brokenness. I also know the feeling of love and acceptance. Once you make it to the other side I feel like you have a moral duty(if you will) to encourage and inspire others towards healing as well. I also know that we cannot “fix” others or enable them to feel sorry for their selves. We need to love them where they are, accept that they are currently broken and encourage them to strive to become the person they were meant to be. We can’t do it for them. It’s their walk. We are all on our own journeys. We have to do the work ourselves. Sometimes a smile, kind word or gesture towards someone we don’t even know makes a big difference in someone’s life. When we go to the grocery store and see people of all walks of life we need to be aware of our surroundings. You never know what somebody else is going through. The difference a few kind words or random act of kindness could have just been all the difference in that person’s very broken life. We definitely need to be aware. Always love intentionally and purposefully seeking nothing in return. Our motives need to be pure though. For even the most broken among us can sense real from superficial. It is when we give of ourselves, knowing that the other person will never be able to pay back the debt, that my friend is when we know we have done what we were placed on this planet to do. But never become smug or puffed up with pride. For that too is the wrong motivation. We need to do good and love simply because it’s the right thing to do, not because it makes us look good or we think of ourselves as great people. I’m a strong believer in paying it forward. When I look over my life and realize just how many people have sewn into my life, either financially, encouragement, love, prayers etc., I know it is far too big to repay back to those people. So the only thing I can think to do, is pay it forward to someone else that has not the means, nor ability to pay me back. Not just speaking financially, but in any way needed. Sometimes people just need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes a hug or reassuring touch on the arm or shoulder, just to let them know that someone on God’s green earth cares about them and they are not alone. Keep up the good work. I loved the article.

  9. This is what I needed to hear tonight. My daughter is a heroin addict. I go back and forth about how to love her without enabling her. It is a fine tight rope that I walk. Right now she is unlovable, yet I still love the memory of her. I try to stay kind, and patient even when I am having to do or not to do something I feel as a mother I should or should not do. Sometimes what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. I do have to work on not reinforcing the brokenness. and trying to control her. The forgiving is such a hard thing to do. I love her unconditionally but often remind her of past errors when I am angry. Still working on that one. I tend to be sarcastic, which is still aggressive.

    1. You can love someone tremendously, and not necessarily “like” them always. We are all imperfect, and all in need of love. Some flaws are just more difficult to conceal.
      In your attempt to love your daughter through her particular set of flaws, you can’t forget to love yourself…to give yourself a break!! You’ll find it all to be easier when you remember to forgive yourself along the way. We are all…only human! She will appreciate that you aren’t perfect, and just may become more aware of her own ability to make improvements.
      I wish you many blessings in your quest!

  10. Might work with some, not all. I agree that everyone deserves love, but sometimes, especially if it’s a family member, the hurt can last a lifetime. I have done all of the above, but find, as I grow older, that I am bewildered by the large amount of people who are mean, vindictive, jealous, insensitive, self absorbed, abusive (psychologically), critical, judgemental, unsupportive, phony, back-stabbing, cruel, heartless, uncaring, nasty while possessing the capability (some, not all, but these are the worst offenders) of presenting themselves to the unsuspecting society at large as the nicest, sweetest & most convincing person,while, in fact, they are lying to suit their needs. Yes, love all you can, but love yourself enough to stay away! And that means no contact what-so-ever. It may come with great sacrifice, especially if it’s a family member, but, staying means being subjected to pain over & over. As Miya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

  11. I came across this article on Pinterest and I feel like this is exactly what I needed to see! I feel I can relate to this on so many levels. Living with bipolar disorder, I myself sometimes feel unlovable and feel like people in my life don’t understand me or have any patience with me. It’s like they expect me to magically turn into a ‘normal’ person at the snap of their fingers when they have no idea the to me, this is normal! So maybe seeing this article will help them to reason with me and to see that I do try but it’s more of a team effort. Also, my dad is an alcoholic among many other things. His girlfriend/baby momma/brat lady is so mentally and physically abusive to him. She makes my dad seem like he’s the worse person ever when in reality he is the best man I ever met. I know what you’re thinking, this girl is nuts. But for real, I’ve never met a man with such a warm heart, he’s just fighting a battle that he’s not even trying to win anymore. But she doesn’t look at the big I came across this article on Pinterest and I feel like this is exactly what I needed to see! I feel I can relate to this on so many levels. Living with bipolar disorder, I myself sometimes feel unlovable and feel like people in my life don’t understand me or have any patience with me. It’s like they expect me to magically turn into a ‘normal’ person at the snap of their fingers when they have no idea the to me, this is normal! So maybe seeing this article will help them to reason with me and to see that I do try but it’s more of a team effort. Also, my dad is an alcoholic among many other things. His girlfriend/baby momma/brat lady is so mentally and physically abusive to him. She makes my dad seem like he’s the worse person ever when in reality he is the best man I ever met. I know what you’re thinking, this girl is nuts. But for real, I’ve never met a man with such a warm heart, he’s just fighting a battle that he’s not even trying to win anymore. What she doesn’t understand is that there is more to my dad than just an addiction. He’s been through so much tragedy, divorce, losing two siblings, losing a child, losing his two best friends both to suicide, never being good enough, and being treated like doo-doo by anyone who he’s ever cared for even though he would do anything for the people he loves. And to finish it off my mother hardly let’s him see my other two siblings. He’s had it rough and it’s almost like he has shut down. He shows no feelings which is really worrisome because he does have depression and has attempted suicide before. I just wish this woman would get over herself and realize that my dad is the best man she will ever meet. Honestly, she’s no where near good enough for my dad. But anyways, thank you for this. It was nice seeing that this week!

  12. I to feel like I was brought to this from my current situation I just had a bby and I found out my spouse has been cheating on me I see the pain in the surroundings some mich bad has come and theres day weere we do fight because of everything and days where we cry with each other. Ive always been more of a listener then a talker and every time my spouse wants to open up even its about the lover and as much as it angers me and I dont want to hear these things I find myself always gicing in and listening. Not because I want to know but because I can feel and see the hurt of the situation even if things dont work between the both of us anymore I will always be there for us and our little family.

  13. Dale, I really hope you are able to respond to this. I was married on Jan. 8th. We had a two week honeymoon and then he left for work for a week. When he came home he was so distant and different and I couldn’t reach him. After a week and a half of living married in the real world, he told me he wanted a divorce and asked me to leave him. It’s been three weeks now and in the past three weeks he has changed the locks on the house, packed up my stuff and put it in the garage, ignored my calls and texts for days at a time including Valentines day. His reasoning is that I never loved him, that I married him for his drive and success. That I don’t know him and never appreciated him. At first I believed that I had really hurt him that bad. After talking with therapists I have come to realized that I have never done anything to deserve all of this. I would like to just walk away and get an annulment, but many people in my life, church leaders, people I work with, friends, are saying that I need to stand up for myself and not let him sweep me under the rug. That I should say I want a divorce instead and that he should pay for the wedding and that I should keep the ring. Obviously he will not be okay with this. I do feel extremely hurt and betrayed and lied to, but I don’t do well with confrontation or fights or anything like that and part of me wants to just give him what he wants and just walk away and forget and forgive. But then the other part says its time for me to stand up for myself, and fight. To demand that he be held accountable for the promises he broke, for not even TRYING to go see a therapist or anyone for help, for completely quitting and treating me like I am disposable. I am trying to decide if it is weakness and strength fighting in me, or forgiveness and love versus pride and selfishness. Any thoughts you may have will be very appreciated.

    1. i have been married almost 9 years to my husband and all our marriage he has said he wanted a divorce when I try and talk about my feelings. He grew up in a very broken home and really bad things happened. He is now a disabled vet and carries all his life problems on his shoulders and he refuses to talk to someone. I say read 1 Peter 3 and be that wife. If this is not what you want be a loving caring wife and wait in God as he has a good plan for your life and your marriage. My husband seriously presented me with divorce the day before thanksgiving and there have been many ups but many more downs since then but I have been plugged into church and doing my best to love him through all this because I know he needs my love. For the first time in months last night he told me he loved me!! So there is hope and just trust in God and make him your number one and he will carry you through!!

      1. Your response to Sbee really helped me. I am in an unaffectionate marriage, my husband has cheated the majority of our five year marriage, and I just found out. He says he doesn’t want a divorce, and for my kids sake, I don’t either. But, I feel like I am in hell, one day he is semi-nice and the next, he treats me like I’m his enemy. He is absolutely impossible, for me. Your reply above reminds me that he is impossible for me, but not for God. Today I’m hanging in there and I will read 1 Peter 3.

        Thank you

  14. The more I spend time with God, the more He shows me how to be like Him, how to love other people.

  15. How do you view people that are Players? I went out with a guy because I thought he deserved a better life. I was aware I was trying to “fix” him I enjoyed mothering him and he stayed with me for a while and then I realised I was being played. Now I go between feeling guilty for not looking after him now to wanting to protect myself and not get taken for a ride. I still like him and I still feel compassion but I am more aware now that he is a player.

  16. The way that i deal with people like this is, by being there for them, because if someone is going through some thing (s) much harder than you are, even I believe that you have to give them the Love that they need, even if they don’t deserve it, God Loves All His Children that way, and that how I want to love it’s in my heart and on my mind to do so, even when the outcome is not what I feel it should be, I Have Faith in the Bigger picture of things.Thats why I try to this things, and it doesn’t make you crazy or stupid. God Is LOVE.

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