Table of Contents
- 1 LOVING GOD, YOURSELF AND OTHERS Written by JOYCE MEYER
- 1.1 IT ALL BEGINS HERE
- 1.2 Be a Good Samaritan
- 1.3 IT’S THE KEY TO GREAT RELATIONSHIPS
- 1.4 ONE SIMPLE WAY TO INCREASE YOUR JOY
- 1.5 Practical Ways to Love on Purpose
- 1.6 LOVING PEOPLE WHO ARE HARD TO LOVE
- 1.7 Pray for Yourself
- 1.8 Bless and Do Not Curse Them
- 1.9 SALVATION: RECEIVING GOD’S FREE GIFT
- 1.10 Sharing Christ—Loving People
Joyce Meyer Free Books
LOVING GOD, YOURSELF AND OTHERS Written by JOYCE MEYER
LOVING GOD, YOURSELF AND AND OTHERS
Unless otherwise noted, scriptures are from the AMPLIFIED Bible. Copyright ©2015
by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
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©2018 Joyce Meyer Ministries
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in
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Printed in the United States of America.
First Printing, 2018
Joyce Meyer Ministries
P.O. Box 655
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What is love? Depending on who you ask, you’ll probably get
several different definitions. In today’s society, many people have a
distorted view of love—it’s often considered to be a “feeling” or
something simply associated with romance or intimacy.
I understand—for years, I never really knew what love was
either. Because of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child, I had a
warped view of what it meant to love and be loved. As a result, I also
couldn’t understand what it meant to receive God’s unconditional
Consequently, as a young woman I used to be extremely selfish
and self-centered, always thinking about how I could get my own
way. As a result, I was miserable…and I was making others miserable.
I thank God that I married Dave, a man who is a godly Christian.
No matter how much I complained, argued, or tried to get him
upset, he refused to give in. Dave loved me through it all and
refused to let me steal his peace and joy.
I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing
today if it wasn’t for Dave. God used him to love me into wholeness.
After a while, I became jealous of him—I wanted what he had! It
was the beginning of truly understanding God’s incredible love
You see, God is love, and more than anything He desires for us
to come to Him and freely receive His love. God wants His love
to flow to us, then through us to other people. He wants us to be
His personal representatives on this earth—showing others
what He is really like!
I don’t know if I can properly even relay to you how different I
am today. Now my prayer is, “God, show me how I can help others.
Make me a blessing everywhere I go. I want to live to love You and
In my personal life, I try to make it my business to add value to
everybody I come in contact with. I can honestly say that learning
how to love others with God’s love has made me the happiest I’ve
ever been. And if God can change me, He can also change you.
I’m so excited to share this book with you. I’ve included so much
of what God has taught me over the past 40 years about loving
others—foundational messages that truly have the power to change
your life as you begin to apply them.
I encourage you to take your time and really allow these teachings
to sink in. Use it as a handbook that you can go back to over
and over. Study the scriptures for yourself that I have included and
find out what else the Bible has to say about love.
As you do—as you begin to put these principles into practice
and truly love the people in your life—I believe you’ll experience more
joy than ever before.
IT ALL BEGINS HERE
The Bible makes it pretty clear that loving other people is one of the
most important things we can do. In John 13:34, Jesus Himself says,
“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I
have loved you, so you too should love one another.”
After I became a Christian, I began to discover what God’s Word
has to say about loving others. I read verses like this one and immediately
thought, I’m going to do that. I have a pretty strong personality,
and when I set my mind to do something, I usually see it
But I soon became frustrated. Although I wanted to love others
through my thoughts, words and actions, I found it difficult to do.
However, as I continued to seek God for His help, He began to show
me the answer:
Before I could love other people, I first had to receive His love for me.
You Can’t Give Away What You Don’t Have
I’ll admit, I used to be extremely selfish and self-centered, always
thinking about how I could get my way. As a result, I was miserable…and
I was making others miserable.
See, I loved God and wanted to love people, but no matter how
hard I tried to be sweet and nice to everybody, all of my trying was
getting me nowhere. I was cranky, hard to get along with and
God showed me the problem was that I didn’t like myself
because of the shame of my past. I grew up in an abusive home, and
I felt guilty, condemned and ashamed because of it. I had to accept
God’s love for me before I could love anyone else.
Now, you may not have a past like mine, but the same principle
Before you can love others, you have to experience God’s love
in your own life—because you can’t give away something you
At that time in my life, I decided to study what the Bible said
about God’s love and began praying for the Lord to change my
heart. I also began speaking out what His Word says about His love
Every day I would say out loud, “God loves me,” and I would
say it over and over to purposely keep this truth in my heart
throughout the day. After a year of doing this, I finally got a revelation
about God’s love for me…and I continue to gain a greater
understanding as I seek God and study His Word.
Now, I am able to receive God’s love and love others the way
Jesus taught us to love. I don’t do it perfectly all the time, but I’ve
come a long way and am making progress every day.
The First Message I Ever Taught
Now, this goes back quite a few years, but I will never forget the
very first message I taught after launching Joyce Meyer Ministries in
the mid-1980s. It was a big moment. I remember praying and
studying for days beforehand, really seeking God for a powerful
teaching that would simply amaze everyone.
To my complete surprise, the Lord spoke to my heart and said,
“Tell them I love them.” I thought, What? God, they know that! The
Lord replied, “If they knew it, then they would act differently.”
So, I obeyed God and taught my very first message titled, “Tell
Them I Love Them.” I later wrote a book with the same title.
You see, receiving a personal revelation of God’s love changes us—
it changes how we view ourselves and the world around us. It softens
our hearts and allows us to see other people the way God sees them.
When we understand God’s love, we really do begin to act differently!
It also frees us from guilt and condemnation, gives us tremendous
confidence, and fills our minds and hearts with His mercy and
Most people, depending on how they were raised, are used to
having to “earn” people’s approval to some degree. As a result, they
try to get God to love them by behaving perfectly. But all God wants
us to do is act as a receptacle of His love—to simply take what’s
being freely offered!
The Lord commands us to love other people, but He will never
ask us to do anything without giving us the ability to do it. God
loves us unconditionally, and He longs for us to come and
receive His love. Then (and only then) can we let His love flow to
us and through us to the people around us.
I encourage you to begin seeking God for a revelation about His
great love for you. Look up scriptures about His love and choose to
meditate on them as often as you can. Also, try taking some time to
just sit quietly in His presence and receive His love.
What you say also has a tremendous impact on what you believe.
I want to give you some homework. It’s super easy, but it can literLoving
God, Yourself and Others
ally change your life! Every single day, choose to speak the
following words out of your mouth as often as you can:
“God loves me unconditionally, and I am special to Him!” (See
Romans 8:38-39; Jeremiah 1:5; Deuteronomy 32:10.)
As I look back, learning to receive God’s love is maybe the
greatest lesson He ever taught me. His love has truly transformed
me into someone He can use to help other people. Isaiah 38:17 sums
it up perfectly: “…You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption
This promise is also for you. Wherever you are today—whatever
hurts you may have from the past or whatever is holding you
back from having a great life—God wants to love you back into
wholeness…then let His love flow through you to a world in need.
WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?
In the world today, there are a lot of misconceptions about love. So
many people believe love is a feeling. But what happens when that
feeling goes away?
Love is not just a feeling, or a theory, or a nice word—it’s an
action. It’s the way you treat people and what you do for others.
Love will always cost you something: time, energy, effort, money.
It will cause you to give up your pride, do what’s right when
you don’t feel like it, and keep a good attitude when you don’t get
your way. (We’re going to cover a lot of great practical examples in
Loving God’s way means you love when there’s nothing in it for
you—it’s all about giving out and not expecting anything in return.
Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t get something in return. You
can’t out-give God! When you take your time, resources, energy,
and love and sow it into someone else’s life, the Bible says you will
always reap a great harvest (see Luke 6:38; Galatians 6:7).
What’s Your Motive?
I will never forget an important lesson the Lord taught me several
years back. I went for a routine visit to see my doctor, and I knew I
would have a good amount of time in the waiting room, so I
brought my Bible and looked forward to doing some reading.
When I arrived, I sat down, got comfortable, then opened my
Bible and began to read. Now, on the other side of the room was an
elderly man who was also waiting. When he saw me, he moved
over to sit next me, then he proceeded to begin telling me about his
aches and pains and why he was there to see the doctor.
Well, to put it mildly, I was put out by this man. Couldn’t he see I
was trying to read? Couldn’t he tell I was doing something spiritual? So,
sad to say, I kind of brushed him off and made it pretty clear that I
Just then, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Joyce, what if
that was Billy Graham who came over to talk with you? Would you
have listened to him?” I got the point loud and clear! Of course I
would’ve dropped everything for Billy Graham. After all, he’s
“important” and it would have been such an honor for me.
That day, the Lord taught me a tremendous lesson about what
love looks like. Since that day, I now ask myself, How do I treat
people who can do nothing for me in return?
The Bible teaches that it’s God’s will for us to help hurting
people. Not only that, but it says our love—how we act and behave
toward others—is the primary way we represent Jesus Christ to the
world and show people what He’s like.
In John 13:35, Jesus says, “By this everyone will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
It’s Really That Simple
So many times, I think we can complicate things—including the
Gospel. But look at how simple the Lord makes it in Matthew
…“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest
commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as
It’s so simple! Love God…and then love your neighbor as you
love yourself. Jesus goes on to say that if we do these two things, we
will end up obeying every other commandment (see Matthew 22:40;
Helping people—being a blessing and adding value to other
people’s lives—is what it means to walk in love and follow the
example of Jesus. We often think we need someone to love us,
but what we really need is someone to love. The world is
desperate for real love, so it isn’t hard to find someone who
needs to be loved.
Ephesians 5:2 says, Live a life filled with love, following the example
of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us…(NLT).
Jesus—our perfect and holy Savior—gave His life for us, took all
of our sin upon Himself, and shed His blood so we could have a
personal relationship with Him and become the righteousness of
God. That was His gift to us. Once we experience the gift of salvation,
our gift to God is how we live our lives.
Again, as Christians, our goal is to represent Christ and
demonstrate His love to others in selfless ways. This is the
opposite of what the world teaches us to do.
We live in a society that drives people to selfishness. Even
movies, TV and advertising influence us to want more and more
and never be satisfied with what we have. But the more selfish and
Loving God, Yourself and Others
self-centered we are, the less power we have to do good and help
Be a Good Samaritan
Now, most of us know the parable of the Good Samaritan. But let’s
look at it in light of this teaching on loving others.
In Luke chapter 10, Jesus tells this story to demonstrate what it
means to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. In verse 30,
we read that a man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho
when “…he encountered robbers, who stripped him of his clothes [and
belongings], beat him, and went their way [unconcerned], leaving him
A priest and a Levite both passed by him and neither stopped to
help. Verse 33 says, “But a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling,
came upon him; and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion
Notice that he “was moved with compassion” for this man. He
had compassion for him and was moved to do something to
He then dressed his wounds and took him to an inn where he
could get the care he needed. He paid the innkeeper and told him,
…“‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when
I return’” (v. 35).
There are a few things I want you to notice about this story. First,
the Samaritan was traveling and was probably going somewhere he
needed to be. He had a plan, but he was willing to stop and help
this man even if it meant his plan was interrupted.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not always too delighted when
my plans get changed. But helping others means being adaptable
and flexible—being willing to occasionally work our schedule
around the needs of someone else. I can guarantee that if we wait
for a “convenient” time to be a blessing, then we will never do it!
Secondly, just look at all of the trouble the Samaritan went
through to make sure the man received proper care. He not only
took his time and brought him to the inn, but he also paid for the
care, including any care he would need in the upcoming days!
Finally (and I often miss this part), the Samaritan was planning
on coming back to check on him. He says, “‘Whatever more you spend,
I will repay you when I return’” (v. 35).
I’ll admit, when I look at this example of what true love looks
like—what it means to really “love your neighbor”—it challenges
me. And that is good! God wants us to get out of our comfort zones
and extend ourselves…not simply do what’s convenient.
I will discuss this more in a later chapter, but when we choose to
use our time, energy and resources to love and bless others, we are
actually doing ourselves a favor. Why? Because getting our minds off
of ourselves and improving someone else’s life releases tremendous
First Corinthians 14:1 says, Pursue [this] love [with eagerness, make
it your goal]….
I can think of no greater pursuit. Make it your goal each day to
pursue God’s love and then give it away. Go after it with all
your might, and ask the Lord to make you a blessing
everywhere you go.
As you do—as you make it your goal to live to love—you will
forever change the lives around you…and show the world what Jesus is
Loving God, Yourself and Others
IT’S THE KEY TO GREAT RELATIONSHIPS
First Corinthians 13 is considered the “Love Chapter” in the Bible.
I’m sure you’re at least a little familiar with it. We often hear it
quoted at weddings and in the context of marriage, but this definition
of love is really the recipe for great relationships of all kinds!
I encourage you stop here and read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for
yourself. Then, together, let’s take a look at this multifaceted definition
These verses say love is:
Patient and kind
Does not insist on its own rights or its own way
Not touchy or resentful
Takes no account of the evil done to it
Rejoices when right and truth prevail
Bears up under anything that comes
Always ready to believe the best of every person
Keeps hope alive in every circumstance
Wow! Can you imagine what it would do for your relationships
if you managed to put into practice even just a few of these?
I think sometimes we can read so many books and look in so
many places for answers to our problems, when the most important
things to do are really pretty simple.
Sure, there are many great resources and helpful things we can
do to strengthen our relationships. But in everything we do, we
shouldn’t forget the main ingredient—love.
In this chapter, I want to highlight just a couple of the things 1
Corinthians 13 tells us about love—things that have personally
transformed the relationships in my own life.
“What About Me?!”
First Corinthians 13:5 says, …Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on
its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking… (AMPC).
One of the most important facets of love is unselfishness, which
is characterized by a willingness to adapt and adjust to the needs
and desires of others.
Let’s look at Romans 12:16. It has been such a vitally important
scripture for my life, and it really contains a major key to having
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, highminded,
exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give
yourselves to humble tasks… (AMPC).
Good friends are not selfish—they have learned to be adaptable
and adjustable to others. Selfish people, on the other hand,
expect everyone to adapt and adjust to them…although they are
often unable to do it for others without becoming angry
This was a very difficult lesson for me. To be honest, I just
Loving God, Yourself and Others
wanted my way, and I got upset when I didn’t get it. In fact, I can
still remember many mornings when I would lay in bed scheming
in my mind how I was going to get Dave to do what I wanted to do
I was wrapped up in myself—thinking all about what I wanted
and what others could do for me.
Well, one morning, as I lay there formulating my plan for how I
was going to get everything I wanted, the Holy Spirit got my attention
and spoke something to my heart that I will never forget.
The Lord said to me, “Joyce, sometimes you remind me of a little
toy robot that someone winds up every morning. Then, after you’re
fully wound up, you walk around all day long saying:
‘What about me? What about me? What about me? What about
me? What about me? What about me?’”
That got my attention!
Over time, as I sought the Lord’s help, He helped me, little by
little, to change and be less selfish. I began more frequently to ask
my friends what they wanted to do and what sounded like fun
And instead of crabbing at Dave all the time about playing too
much golf, at one point I even decided to just go with him and play
myself so we could spend time together.
These types of things may sound trivial, but they were actually
huge steps for me, and they helped me to learn about the importance
of valuing other people’s needs and desires. They also helped me
become a better friend.
And one of the greatest things about getting our minds off
ourselves is that we become incredibly happy. Selfish people
are quite miserable and usually think if they could just get what
they want, they would feel better. Satan has them on a treadmill
of striving to make themselves happy and never succeeding.
However, people who are always thinking of what they can do
for others are the most joyful people on earth!
Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with thinking about
ourselves and doing things for ourselves; in fact, we need to. But
there is something desperately wrong when we allow ourselves to
become obsessed with ourselves, our desires and our needs.
Good relationships require give and take. We shouldn’t always
demand our way, and our friends shouldn’t always demand theirs.
However, as we love and serve each other, it creates an atmosphere
for great relationships.
Stop Keeping Score
First Corinthians 13:5 goes on to say that love is not touchy or fretful
or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to
a suffered wrong] (AMPC).
This verse is so practical. It says that love forgives—it does not
hold a grudge or “keep score” of other people’s mistakes. It isn’t
touchy or easily offended.
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who is
“touchy” and gets their feelings hurt about everything? It’s not
enjoyable, and soon you begin looking for ways to avoid them.
You see, all of us have many opportunities every day to get
offended, and each time we must make a choice. However, if
we always choose to live by our feelings, we won’t be walking
in love…and we won’t improve our relationships.
I once read that when people hurt our feelings, it is almost never
what they intended to do. We always assume people are attacking
us, while the truth is, it may have never even crossed their mind.
But here’s the danger: If we don’t forgive quickly—if we allow
ourselves to stay offended and keep records of how others have hurt
Loving God, Yourself and Others
us—sooner or later the list will get so long that we can no longer be
in relationship with those people.
In the early years of our marriage, each time Dave and I got into
an argument, I would bring up everything he had ever done to
displease me since day one. It absolutely amazed him.
Dave would say, “I can’t even remember that. Where do you
keep all of that information?”
Because I was unable to simply forgive and let go of the offense,
I kept it in me, meditating on it regularly. I had quick recall when I
needed some ammunition to make Dave feel bad.
But the truth is, I was full of poison! Bitterness was making my
life bitter, my attitude bitter, and my thoughts and words bitter.
I love what Mark 11:25 tells us to do when we get offended:
“Drop it, leave it and let it go.”
It’s important to forgive quickly—the quicker we do it, the easier
it is. A weed that has deep roots is harder to pull than one that has
just sprung up!
Everyone we are in relationship with will most likely hurt us at
some point—it’s just a fact of life. However, we must remember that
we are human beings and we shouldn’t put pressure on one another
to be absolutely perfect.
God is love, and He forgives and forgets. If we want to be like
Him, then we must develop the same habit.
So, when someone hurts your feelings or offends you, I
encourage you to put the scorecard away. If it’s a situation that
needs to be discussed with that person for the health of your relationship,
then approach that person in love and talk things out.
But in the end, I encourage you to drop it, leave it, and let it go.
It will work wonders for your relationships, and you will enjoy your
life so much more in the process.
I think it’s easy to read 1 Corinthians 13—the “Love Chapter”—
and feel overwhelmed. You think, Who can possibly do this?
But we were never meant to do it alone. God wants us to come to
Him and receive His unconditional love and strength…and then let it
flow to all those around us.
So, do you want to strengthen your relationships? Do you want
to truly enjoy the people in your life…and feel like you’re making a
positive contribution to theirs?
It all begins with this one tiny little word…
Loving God, Yourself and Others
ONE SIMPLE WAY TO INCREASE YOUR JOY
I love God’s Word because it is truly our instructional manual for
life! In fact, God wants to give us the answers to every problem we
face, including how to make a bad day better…and increase our joy
every single day.
First of all, you’ve probably noticed that if you’re having a bad
day, one of the worst things you can do is to keep thinking about
yourself and all of your own problems. It only makes things worse!
So, what should you do? Get your mind off yourself, walk in love,
and help someone else.
Helping others isn’t something you will normally feel like doing
—it requires a decision. But making a choice to be good to others
has the power to help you and them. It’s a spiritual principle…
The apostle Paul says in Acts 20:35: In everything I did, I showed
you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the
words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’
So, if I’m having a bad day, this scripture tells me I can be
happier by simply getting myself off my mind and helping someone
It’s actually amazing how just a few words of encouragement
can change someone’s entire day. Sometimes it can even change
It can be as simple as picking up the phone and calling a friend
who’s been going through a rough time, letting them know you’re
thinking about them and praying for their situation. Or maybe you
can send someone a text message to let them know how valuable
they are and how much you care.
How does helping someone else make you happier?
Just think about Christmas morning. You’ve already spent time
shopping for all of the gifts, spending your money and sacrificing
financially. You’ve also wrapped them and placed them under the
tree for your kids or relatives. Then it’s finally time to open the gifts!
Sure, it’s fun to receive a gift and open it. However, the best part
is watching others open their gifts. Why? Because you have sacri-
ficed, spent your time and money and really invested something
into this. So, as you watch them open and enjoy what you did for
them, great joy is released in your life.
The Shortest Speech
I recently read a tremendous story on this topic about William
Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army. It was Christmas Eve,
1910, and due to sickness, he wasn’t going to be able to attend the
organization’s annual convention. He had become disabled, and his
eyesight was failing.
Normally, Booth would speak to the workers and share an
encouraging message with these men and women who had spent
long hours in service during the Christmas season. However, this
year, knowing he couldn’t attend, he decided to send a message by
telegram that could be read to all those in attendance.
Loving God, Yourself and Others
But what would he say? Booth searched his mind and reviewed
his years of ministry, looking for a message that would summarize
his life and the mission of The Salvation Army. He wanted to
compose a speech that would encourage these men and women.
That night, when the thousands of delegates met, the moderator
shared the news that William Booth would not be present due to his
failing health. They were naturally disappointed. However, he
conveyed that Booth had sent something to be read to all in
The moderator opened the telegram, then read William Booth’s
one-word message: “Others.”
This story really speaks to me! It’s so easy to always focus on
ourselves—what we want and what we think. But we often have it
backward. God is saying when we make others our priority, then
everything else will fall into place…and we will end up incredibly
Here’s another way to say it: Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew
In fact, if you have a need in your own life, helping others is one
of the most powerful things you can do! Are you going through a
difficult time? Are you waiting for a breakthrough in a certain area?
If so, Psalm 37:3 has the answer for every problem you will face:
Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so
shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly
you shall be fed (AMPC).
Trust God and do good! When you place your trust and hope in
the Lord, then commit yourself to helping others and taking
care of their problems, you open the door for God to do
incredible things in your own life.
Practical Ways to Love on Purpose
Once I became determined to make loving others the theme of my
life, I hungered for a variety of ways to show love. We can certainly
love people with our words—we can encourage others and express
how valuable we think they are. We can also use our resources like
our time, energy, possessions, and finances.
You may be convinced you don’t have anything to give. Maybe
you are in debt, doing your best to pay your bills, and the thought
of giving to others is almost irritating or makes you sad because you
want to give but don’t see how you can. However, there are literally
thousands of ways you can give and spread love!
I’ve been pretty aggressive on my own journey to find creative
ways to incorporate this theme of loving people into my everyday
life. Here are just a few practical ways we can love on purpose:
When it’s obvious that someone else wants the same
parking space you want, let them have it and do it with
Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn or offer to do their
Give someone without transportation a ride to church or
another event, even if it’s out of your way.
Truly listen to someone without interrupting.
Babysit the children of a young couple who may need a
Hold a door open for a stranger and let them go ahead
Text someone with a message of encouragement, even if
it’s simply, “Just thinking of you—have a great day!”
Would you like to make every day better? Would you like to find
joy even in the midst of difficult times? Then begin taking even just
a few minutes every day to think about what you can do to help
Loving God, Yourself and Others
Because when you give your life away, you’ll find that it comes back to
you in the most marvelous ways.
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LOVING PEOPLE WHO ARE HARD TO LOVE
I don’t believe anyone gets up in the morning and thinks, I just can’t
wait to see how many people I can make miserable today. I often say that
hurting people hurt people.
Most of the pain and anguish we receive from other people is a
result of their own pain. When someone is miserable, it inevitably
comes out somewhere—and it usually comes out on somebody.
The truth is, we’re never going to be able to prevent people
from saying or doing things that hurt our feelings. We will
always have opportunities to get offended. But if we do things
God’s way, we can choose to save ourselves a lot of misery and
This doesn’t mean we allow people to abuse us. No, there is a
time for confronting people and dealing with situations. However,
the Bible commands us to love our enemies and forgive those who
have wronged us.
Let’s look at Matthew 5:44. Jesus says, But I tell you, Love your
enemies and pray for those who persecute you (AMPC).
You may consider some of the people in your life and think,
Joyce, that’s impossible!
Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes and I know how you feel.
But everything the Lord asks us to do in the Bible is ultimately for
our good. In fact, when we choose to love our enemies and forgive
those who have hurt us, we are actually helping ourselves more than
So, how do you love the people in your life who are hard
Well, I believe a good place to begin is to stop thinking, I can’t!
Because whatever the Lord commands us to do, He is going to give
us the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish it—and that includes
loving and being good to difficult people!
In John 13:35, Jesus says, “By this everyone will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” The
Bible says we are Christ’s representatives here on earth, and when
we love our enemies, we show them what God is really like.
I personally believe that showing love to someone who doesn’t
deserve or expect it is absolutely one of the most powerful
things we can do. Because in that moment they see God…and
He’s the one Who can truly change their hearts.
Believe the Best
First Corinthians 13:7 says that love is ever ready to believe the best of
every person… (AMPC).
Wow! If we could just do this one thing, can you imagine how it
would revolutionize our lives and our relationships?
For instance, maybe I run into a friend at the coffee shop and
they don’t seem too thrilled to see me. On top of it, when I say hello,
they are quick to say a few things and then leave.
Well, being a thinker, I can ruin my entire day if I decide to overJOYCE
analyze what was said and done. In fact, I have ruined entire days
doing just that!
When something like this happens, we have a choice. We can
think, You did this on purpose just to upset me! Or we can choose to
believe the best and think:
Well, they must be having a difficult day and probably didn’t even
realize they were being rude to me. Maybe something difficult is going on
in their life. It most likely has nothing to do with me.
I know that I desire for others to show me a lot of grace of mercy
and give me the benefit of the doubt when I’m having a bad day or
hurt their feelings without realizing it. No one is perfect, and we can
all use a little room to be human.
Pray for Yourself
If we want to love people who are hard to love, one of the first
things we need to do is pray for ourselves to have a proper attitude
before we pray for others to change.
In Matthew 7:5, Jesus says, …First get the log out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The Lord is saying that we don’t really know how to help people
properly if there’s a bigger mess in our own lives. That’s why it’s
important to pray that we will see our own faults, because if we do,
it will make it easier to understand the weaknesses of others.
I don’t know how many years I prayed for God to change my
husband Dave. In my mind, he was always the problem. Thank
heaven, I finally learned the importance of adopting a humble attitude
when it comes to these things.
Now I pray more like this: “God, this is obviously very hard for
me, and I would like for you to move in Dave’s life. But Lord, I may
not even see this right—I may be the problem. God, first deal with
me if I need to change.”
The truth is, sometimes being judgmental of other people is
Loving God, Yourself and Others
simply a mechanism to not deal with our own problems. If I
stay busy looking at what’s wrong with Dave, then I don’t have
to deal with what’s wrong in my own life.
However, I’ve discovered I need to spend less time on other
people and more time on me. At first, this can be challenging. But as
we humble ourselves and ask the Lord to change us, it’s amazing
how it will transform our relationships and our attitude toward
Pray for Others
So, first, it’s good to begin with ourselves and ask the Lord to
change us. Then, it’s important to pray (with right motives) for the
person who is hard to love.
I’ve noticed in my own life how easy it is to pray for people to
change so it will make life easier on me. But God asks us to pray
with a sincere desire for their good.
We should pray that God will help people to be all He wants
them to be and do all He wants them to do. Pray the Lord will help
them get to the root of their problems and realize when they’re
hurting other people.
The Lord wants us to help love people into wholeness. I’ve
learned that “behavior modification” is not the answer. It’s easy to
give someone an ultimatum like, “If you don’t change your ways,
I’m leaving you!” They may change for a while, but their bad
behavior will eventually come back because their heart hasn’t
I truly believe that we can use kindness as a weapon to overcome
the meanness in people. God’s love flowing through us is
strong enough to melt even the hardest hearts!
I proved this with my own father. As you may know, I was
abused by my father as a child. As an adult, the Lord helped me to
forgive him; however, it was still a very difficult relationship for me
—he was definitely someone I viewed as “hard to love.”
Well, several years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to take care
of my parents until they died. So, Dave and I bought them a house
and helped meet their needs. As a result, my father eventually
accepted Christ—and I even had the privilege of baptizing him!
What people really need is to see us act like God. It will require
sacrifices on our part. But in the end, whether we see it or not, the
results are always worth it.
Be Ready to Forgive
Ephesians 4:32 says, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving
each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (NIV).
If you are spending any time at all with someone who is
difficult to love, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities to
Believe me, I know full well how difficult it is to forgive
someone who has mistreated or abused you. But the Lord will never
ask you to do something that isn’t in your best interest.
I recently saw a movie that really impacted me. The main character
had been mistreated very badly, but he eventually chose to
forgive the person. Even his wife asked him, “How can you forgive?”
His answer has stuck with me ever since. He replied:
“If you forgive, you only have to do that once. But if you hate,
you have to do that every day for the rest of your life.”
Wow! You see, when you make a choice to forgive others, it
really benefits you. I often say that holding a grudge and staying
bitter at someone is like drinking poison and hoping they will die.
You’re only hurting yourself!
Loving God, Yourself and Others
I encourage you to be quick to forgive—leave it and let it go. If
you need to confront a person about their behavior or discuss
the issue, that is important. But even then, don’t allow the
poison of unforgiveness to ruin your life.
In the meantime, you are also showing people what God is like.
The Bible says that we are His personal representatives, and He is
making His appeal to the world through us. And when you forgive
—when you choose to offer grace and mercy—you look an awful lot
Cover Their Sin—Don’t Gossip!
First Peter 4:8 says that love covers a multitude of sins….
What does this mean? In practical terms, it’s saying that we
shouldn’t expose people’s faults to someone else.
This can be difficult. When we’re hurting, we want to call
everyone we know and start gossiping—“Well, you just wouldn’t
believe what they said to me!”
Yes, there are times when it’s healthy to talk to someone about an
issue. And there are obvious cases like abuse where it’s important to
let others know. But for most day-to-day offenses, the Lord asks us
to love and protect people.
The story of Noah in Genesis chapter 9 is a great example. Verse
21 says that Noah drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he was
uncovered and lay exposed inside his tent.
The Bible says that Noah’s son Ham saw him, then told his two
brothers, Shem and Japheth. But watch what his brothers did…
So Shem and Japheth took a robe and put it on both their shoulders, and
walked backwards and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces
were turned away so that they did not see their father’s nakedness (v.23).
When Noah awoke and realized what happened, he cursed
Ham, saying his descendants would serve the descendants of his
brothers. But he blessed Shem and Japheth.
In the same way, when you go the extra mile to love people and
keep their faults to yourself, the Lord will honor you and bless your
life in amazing ways.
Bless and Do Not Curse Them
Romans 12:14 says, Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not
As I mentioned, there are certainly times when you have to
speak about what someone’s done and deal with things in a godly
way. However, so often we use people’s bad behavior as an excuse
If you’re familiar with my teachings, you know my mouth used
to get me in a lot of trouble. There’s something so tempting about
sharing people’s faults with others! But the Lord commands us to
speak well of people, not to curse them by rehearsing their behavior
In Matthew 18:15, Jesus says, If your brother wrongs you, go and
show him his fault, between him and you privately… (AMPC).
How many issues could be quickly settled by simply choosing
to have a private conversation with the person who hurts or
offends us? Whether it’s at work or in a social setting, so many
things needlessly escalate because we’re determined to talk
about the problem with everyone else first!
Sure, it’s easy to gossip, and we can usually rationalize doing
it. But I encourage you to make a point of blessing others with
your words. Even if you need to have a discussion with the
person who hurt you, do it with humility. Begin by sharing something
they do right, and make sure you don’t come across as
Believe it or not, what you say makes a big difference. In fact,
Loving God, Yourself and Others by Joyce Meyer
Proverbs 18:21 says that our words contain the power of life and
death. Choose to begin speaking words of life.
Help Them When They Have Trouble—and Don’t Gloat!
In Luke 6:27, Jesus says, …Love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act
nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred (AMPC).
It’s one thing to pray for your enemies, but actually going out of
our way to help them is another thing entirely!
What if someone at work—a person who is difficult and hard to
love—is stranded in the parking lot because their car won’t start?
What we feel like thinking is, That serves you right! I hope it takes you
all night to get home!
But the Lord is asking us to love that person through our actions.
I love Exodus 23:5—it’s so practical. It says, If you see the donkey of
one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall not leave the
man to deal with it [alone]; you must help him release the animal [from its
Remember, we are Christ’s representatives here on earth. God
wants to use us to win these people for Him!
Years ago, I was the person who was hard to love. I didn’t do it
on purpose—I just had all kinds of problems on the inside of me,
and I needed somebody to show me Jesus.
Well, my husband Dave was a mature, godly Christian who did
all of the things I am teaching in this chapter. No matter how much I
complained, argued, or tried to get him upset, he refused to give in.
Dave loved me through it all and refused to let me steal his peace
and joy. After a while, I became jealous of him—I wanted what
God used Dave to love me into wholeness. And you have the
same opportunity. There are people in your life that need to see
the love of Christ in action.
I often say that people don’t really care about all of our Christian
bumper stickers or even the things we say. It’s what we do that
makes a difference. We can’t talk or convince anyone into changing,
but we can show them by example.
Whoever you may be struggling with in your life, I encourage
you to never give up. Whether it’s someone who has inflicted a deep
wound or simply a person who manages to frustrate you and make
life difficult, God knows what you’re going through, and He wants
to give you the grace to forgive them (over and over if necessary!)
and love them from a sincere heart.
As you do, you are sowing seeds of breakthrough in your life and
theirs. Because in the end, love never fails (see 1 Corinthians 13:8).
Loving God, Yourself and Others
SALVATION: RECEIVING GOD’S FREE GIFT
Developing a relationship with Jesus Christ is the first step to
truly receiving God’s love. It’s the foundational element on which
you can build everything else. The moment you realize your deep
need for God, you begin an amazing journey into His plan for
Romans 3:23 (NIV) says it this way: For all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God.
Knowing Jesus is simply acknowledging your need for Him,
believing what He did for you and accepting His amazing gift. It
recognizes that you can’t live this life on your own—that you’ve
sinned and are in need of a Savior. And the good news about
knowing Jesus, about being saved, is the beautiful exchange that
happens in that moment.
You give Him all the bad and sinful things you’ve done, and in
return, God gives you everything He has for you. Whether you
know it or not yet, His plan for your life is amazing, and this is the
first step on that journey.
If you’re ready to start your own, personal journey with Jesus or
perhaps want to get to know Him in a deeper way, visit:
Loving God, Yourself and Others
JOYCE MEYER MINISTRIES
Sharing Christ—Loving People
Joyce Meyer Ministries is called to share the Gospel and extend the
love of Christ. Through media we teach people how to apply
biblical truth to every aspect of their lives and encourage God’s
people to serve the world around them.
Through our missions arm, Hand of Hope, we provide global
humanitarian aid, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, minister to the
elderly, widows and orphans, visit prisoners and reach out to people
of all ages and in all walks of life.
Joyce Meyer Ministries is built on a foundation of faith, integrity
and dedicated supporters who share this call.
To view additional resources from Joyce Meyer Ministries, to watch
our most current Enjoying Everyday Life show, or to receive information
about our missions outreach Hand of Hope, please visit joycemeyer.org
DIVE DEEP INTO GOD’S WORD
Jesus says in John 6:63 that His words are spirit and life. As we read
and study the Bible, God transforms who we are and gives us the
desire and ability to be more like Him.
If you need help studying God’s Word, we’ve got you covered. No
matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, joycemeyer.org/study
has free resources to help you get the very most out of
your time in God’s Word and apply it in your everyday life.
You can sign up for one of Joyce’s free Bible studies, download
her special audio teachings, and receive encouraging emails and
study tips to help you all along the way.
The Bible is so much more than just a “good book”—it’s God’s
instructional manual for life! It’s also the secret to experiencing true
growth and change.
These special study resources by Joyce will help you dive deep
into God’s Word…to study it, live it, and love it in a whole
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joyce Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A
New York Times bestselling author, Joyce’s books have helped
millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ.
Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, Joyce teaches on a number of topics
with a particular focus on how the Word of God applies to our
everyday lives. Her candid communication style allows her to share
openly and practically about her experiences so others can apply
what she has learned to their lives.