Final February Post: Loving the Unlovable

Heart to Heart on Loving the Unlovable

Guest blogger Alison Lawson shares with us another great post on love.  Click to see past post's on Parenting, Marriage & Friendships.

I will admit.  It is tough to love someone who does not act very lovable.  We made a choice to marry our spouse, have children, and build friendships with certain people, but we certainly have not chosen to have difficult people in our lives.  This person may be a neighbor, a relative, or co-worker.  They are a part of our lives, like it or not.  So how do we love a person who is hard to love?

Let’s first think about some of the actions of the “unlovable”.  Harsh and judgmental, they say exactly what they think all the time, hurting feelings or offending others.  Their rolling eyes and terse remarks often leave you feeling as competent as a toddler.  They are competitive, always wanting to outdo another as they point out their bigger house, smarter son, and more obedient daughter.  The list could go on and on of annoying, aggravating actions and words that make your blood boil. 

You want to react with snappy words that bring these grueling people back to reality.  Or maybe you just want to run as far away from them as possible and hope you never cross paths again.  Well, that may be how you feel, but remember, love is an action, not a feeling.  We should act in love towards everyone, but how in the world do we act in love towards those difficult people in our lives?

While we cannot run away from our problems or every thorny situation that arises in life, it is okay to put some space between ourselves and those people who know just how to push our buttons.  We should not be rude about needing our space, but merely take advantage of the opportunities that allow us time apart.  We may even find that, with a little space, it is easier to love these people.

But what if it is impractical to put some space between the two of you?  While it may be impossible to evade these foes, we must avoid stooping to their level when troubles arise.  If their behavior is rude and hurtful, we should not mimic them by responding in the same way. 

Three concise, yet challenging “rules” have enabled me to respond to difficult people with love and to prevent myself from saying or doing something I would later regret.  These principles are 1) Be kind, 2) Be respectful, and 3) Use as few words as possible. 

God tells us that we must not return evil with evil.  Rather than responding callously to hurtful comments, be kind.  Ultimately, we are accountable for our own remarks, not theirs.  Therefore we should make sure we are acting in a nice, gentle manner despite what they say to us. 

Furthermore, be respectful.  Each human life is precious, created by God, and it is not our role to decide who is worthy of respect, even when a person’s words and actions are far less than commendable.  Our focus must instead be on our own character and actions, which include showing respect to others. 

Finally, have self control and use as few words as possible.  Most likely, when hurt by someone’s remarks or deeds, a litany of words, few of which are actually kind or respectful, are ready to pour forth from our mouths.  However, the more words spoken, the more likely those words are to be snappy and insensitive.  Every effort must be made to limit what is said in response to difficult people. 

In addition to these three guiding principles, we should faithfully pray for the problematic people in our lives, asking God to help them see their faults and submit their lives completely over to Him.  Moreover, we should pray for ourselves, seeking God’s forgiveness when we respond inappropriately – in word, deed, or thought - and asking Him to fill us with love and compassion for these people. 

God will answer our prayers, especially when we truly desire to change our own attitudes toward someone.  Furthermore, we are likely to see an incredible, miraculous transformation in the relationship as we, too, submit to the Lord and seek to love the “unlovable”. 

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you….And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”   Luke 6:27-8, 31

Alison Lawson has been a part of the Southeastern community for over twelve years.  Her husband, Michael, earned Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southeastern, and has been employed at SEBTS as the Director of Campus Security since 2002.  Mike and Alison have been married for fifteen years and have three sons whom she home schools: Brandon (7th grade), Nicholas (4th grade), and Zachary (2nd grade). They are members at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church.  Read more about what God is teaching Alison and her family at

Embrace Events

You might have noticed a new page tab above titled "Embrace Events".  I wanted to let you know a little bit more about what Embrace Events.  Embrace is a ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.  The ministry seeks to encourage women to walk humbly with Christ in their world and build strong families capable of creating a legacy of faithfulness. 
The vision of Embrace is to embrace God's call to pray for and minister to women, their families and future generations for the building up of Christ's kingdom.
The mission of Embrace is to respond to God's call and design for women to live in intimacy with Christ as they serve Him through the local Church to prayerfully care for and develop evangelism, discipleship and missions in women leaving a legacy for future generations.

Embrace hosts many great events throughout the year.  The next event is a Mother Daughter Retreat. 

Embrace Mother Daughter Retreat
March 25-26, 2011
Sophia, NC

This retreat brings mothers and daughters (first grade through sixth grade) together for inspiration, dialogue, worship and fun. Come learn what God says about character and why it counts. 

For more info on the Mother Daughter Retreat please click here.  
Embrace also host Leadership Training Events throughout the year.  The next Leadership Training Event is April 15-16, 2011. 

Embrace Leadership Training
Excel Still More

April 15-16, 2011
Apex Baptist Church
Apex, NC

Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries is a ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina that prayerfully cares for and develops a lifestyle of evangelism, discipleship and missions in women. These leadership training events are designed for any women called into leadership roles in their local churches and associations for ministry in the areas of evangelism, discipleship, missions involvement and leadership. 

 For more info on the Leadership Training please click here.


These are just two events that are happening in the next few months.  I encourage you to check all of the events!  For more information about Embrace click here.

Heart to Heart on Friendships

Guest blogger Alison Lawson shares on loving our friends.  To see more of Alison's posts on parenting click here and on marriage click here.

Love is an action that must also be applied to our friendships.  We decide who we want to be friends with and hang around with.  Therefore, loving our friends ought to be pretty easy.  But are our actions towards them displaying love?  Do we have the right feelings for them, but fall short of acting on those feelings? 

There are two categories of loving our friends.  One is by our intentional actions towards them.  The other is by our calculated response to them.  Let’s look first at how we can intentionally act in love towards our friends. 

To begin with, mark special days on the calendar, such as birthdays and anniversaries, and send cheerful greetings on these occasions over the phone or with a visit.  Pay attention to particular needs, like times of sickness or sadness, and find ways to help.  Pray and follow up with a card or a call. 

Being hospitable and inviting a friend and her family into your home is another way to show love to her.  It is also important to be real with our friends and not try to act contrary to who we really are just to impress them or maintain the “friendship”.  Be silly, be sad, be fun, be serious.  Don’t try to hide your emotions or be someone contrary to your nature. 

My friend Beth has seen the best and worst of my moods.  Compassionate and understanding, she has patiently listened to me complain about petty frustrations as well as legitimate struggles.  In the past, when I have fallen short of being the friend I should due to a scattered mind or an overwhelming work load, she has remained a loyal. 

Neighbors have stopped by unexpectedly when I am looking unkempt, but perhaps no one outside of my family has witnessed me at my extremes like Beth, who has seen me not only in my Sunday finest, but also in well-worn sweats with no make-up on.  Because I occasionally get my hair highlighted in her home by her mother-in-law, she has also seen me looking very “alien-like” with foils sticking out all over my head.  Since she is a trustworthy and dear friend, I feel comfortable looking my best OR my worst around her.

Another intentional action we can do to show love for our friends is to simply tell them we appreciate them.  Say thanks to them for inviting you to their homes, especially when it means bringing more mouths to feed and more little rug rats to empty the toy box and make a mess.  Acknowledge the fun times and enjoyable conversations.   

Do not forget to thank them for listening during a difficult time or for being patient when you have talk way too much about one problem that refuses to leave your mind.  Thank them for being a faithful friend even when you have unintentionally overlooked their birthdays or special events in their lives.  Let them know what dear friends they are and how much you treasure them.

And this leads to the second category of loving our friends.  We also love them by how we respond to them.  Most of the time, our friends are pretty likable and easy to get along with.  But occasionally, they may let us down.  They, too, have families and homes to take care of.  There will be times they may forget your birthday, a doctor’s appointment, or some other significant event in your life. They may inadvertently let you down by canceling a get-together, forgetting to return a favor, or failing to follow-up on a concern you shared with them. 

Love your friends by dropping the trivial – and sometimes even the not-so-trivial – matters that are not worth harming a genuine, precious friendship.  Keep in mind that none of us are perfect, and be patient with your friends when they let you down.  Recognize that it does not usually happen, and forgive and forget!  This is love in action.

“A friend loves at all times….” Proverbs 17:17a

 Alison Lawson has been a part of the Southeastern community for over twelve years.  Her husband, Michael, earned Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southeastern, and has been employed at SEBTS as the Director of Campus Security since 2002.  Mike and Alison have been married for fifteen years and have three sons whom she home schools: Brandon (7th grade), Nicholas (4th grade), and Zachary (2nd grade). They are members at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church.  Read more about what God is teaching Alison and her family at

College Students: An event just for you!

Attention College Ladies!  Residence Life is hosting a Generations Panel for college ladies here at SEBTS.  During the event you will have a chance to hear from 4 different women who are from 4 different generations.  This will be a fun and learning time.  Please invite your friends. 

When: Monday, Feb. 21st
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Multi Purpose Room in Ledford (2nd floor) 
RSVP: Melanie Luellen at 

Snacks & Desserts will be provided. 

Scholarship for Full Time Students

The Women’s Auxiliary is offering a scholarship for ladies that are full-time students.

For an application, please go here.

If you have any questions, please contact
Amanda George:
or 919-761-2203.

The application is due no later than March 5.

Please return it to the Financial Development Office, Stealey Hall, Office 105.

Love = Commitment

Don’t get me wrong.  Decades in, I’m CRAZY about my husband.  He makes me laugh, he pumps my gas every Friday, he’s handsome across the breakfast table, he’s quite the romantic…I’m SO glad I got to marry this man! 
But there’s so much more to our love than emotion.    

Love = commitment. 

Let’s be honest, there are days when neither one of us wakes up very loveable.  On those mornings (usually related to me needing coffee) we joke ‘when I feel like loving someone, you’re going to be at the top of the list’. 

When I think about it, here’s what has kept our romance going strong for 30+ years:  obedience to God’s Word.  Whether we feel like it that day or not.  Amazing how often the Spirit gets our feelings in line when our actions are…. Like I said, I really am crazy in love with my husband.        

Since I’m writing for women, I’ll focus on my half of this love equation.  Honestly, this wife thing didn’t come naturally to me.  Meditating on scripture changed my life.  It really is as simple – and as profound – as that.

I found that if I can worry…if I can dwell on hurt…if I can fume in anger…I already have the skill set I need to meditate on scripture.  Hmmm.  Here are just a few love-my-husband favorites:    

She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31.12 (gold standard – everything – everything! – is measured against this one)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17.22 (c.h.o.o.s.e.  joy)

She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 31.27 (um, convicting.  an orderly (enough) home – and healthy meals instead of fast food)   

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.  Proverbs 31.25 (note to self:  get off that emotional roller coaster)  

It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 21:9 (yikes…this verse is repeated for a reason)

She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Proverbs 31.22 (this sooo doesn’t sound like sloppy sweats)

She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.  Proverbs 31.17 (motivation to lift weights and run on the elliptical…so I have energy to get all the rest done…really)

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 31.30 (balance = don’t obsess on appearance)

An overseer must be…hospitable.... I Timothy 3.2 (and exactly how will he do this if I don’t cooperate?)

Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.... I Samuel 12.23 (self-explanatory…and convicting)

The wife must see to it that she respects her husband.  Ephesians 5.33 (crucial. crucial. crucial.)

The Song of Solomon...pretty much all of it. 

And, just for fun - here’s a photo to demonstrate love works when you do marriage God’s way. 

I stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot on Valentine’s a couple of years ago, and this banner was hanging in the trees outside my kitchen window…I told you he is quite the romantic.

Stephanie Mills loves being married to Richard. And mornings that start with a mug of coffee & an open Bible.  And, now that the kids are grown, exploring the world…often in hiking boots with a tent. Richard planted Faith Baptist in Youngsville, and it was amazing to raise PKs in a place where the whole family got to join God at work and see lives changed. She thinks it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Heart to Heart on Parenting

Guest Blogger Alison Lawson Shares on Love in Parenting  

I remember the moment I feel in love with my first child.  I was both excited and apprehensive when I found out we were expecting a baby.  The beginning of the pregnancy proceeded smoothly, but at about four months, I was hospitalized with complications.  While listening to my baby’s heart beat over the monitors throughout the night, I fell in love.  It was a huge, powerful, unexplainable love.  My husband felt the same love a little later when the doctor delivered our 8 lb 2 oz baby boy almost three weeks early.

A mom’s love for her children is incredible.  She immediately wants to provide, protect, and defend her offspring, as she attempts to furnish them with all they need and want.  Even when they test her beyond reason, she strives to give them the best life possible.  This mind-set is healthy for the most part, but it can also cause some very confusing feelings. 

Imagine this situation.  You have instructed your child to clean his room, giving him simple directions – put the cars in the box, the stuffed animals on the bed, and the books on the shelf.  You remind him the timer is set and the room must be clean before it beeps.  He acknowledges that he understands.  At the halfway mark, while gently reminding him of the time he has left, you notice your easily distracted child has made little progress.  When the buzzer finally goes off, you are doubtful he has completed the job.  Your suspicions are quickly confirmed. 

Having no desire to hurt his feelings or upset him with time out, taking away privileges, or a spanking, you decide to give him five more minutes, and then another five, and finally you just do the job yourself.  After all, he is a child.  He should be playing, and you want him to have loving memories from his childhood instead of memories involving punishment.

Neglecting appropriate discipline, however, is not a true display of love.  Love is an action, not a feeling.  Parents, hoping to avoid hurt feelings or loud cries, may not feel like punishing their children.  Mom may have such warm, fuzzy feelings for her child that she thinks she can excuse his disobedient behavior.  But that is not love. 

Love is training our children to be responsible, obedient adults.  Love is teaching them who to be accountable to - their parents and eventually God.  Love, rarely the easiest path, involves time, patience, and sometimes pain.  Parents show love to their children by taking actions that their offspring may not necessarily consider very loving.  However, the benefits of true love are often not immediate, but rather seen over the course of life. 

Parenting is not easy.  Love is not easy.  But no greater love can be displayed to one’s children than through disciplining and training them to surrender their lives to God and be obedient to Him, which includes obeying mommy and daddy.

Love also includes showing grace and mercy.  There will be times when we say to our children, “You do not deserve this treat, but I will give it to you anyway because I love you.”  Or “You deserve punishment, but you seem to have learned your lesson and I will not administer it this time.”  Grace and mercy are important aspects of love to be used with discretion and wisdom and as part of the process of training children to become men and women of character. 

By administering appropriate discipline, grace, and mercy, children will be confident of mom and dad’s love for them.

“He who loves his son disciplines him promptly.” Proverbs 13:24b

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11.

To see Alison's earlier post on Marriage click here

Alison Lawson has been a part of the Southeastern community for over twelve years.  Her husband, Michael, earned Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southeastern, and has been employed at SEBTS as the Director of Campus Security since 2002.  Mike and Alison have been married for fifteen years and have three sons whom she home schools: Brandon (7th grade), Nicholas (4th grade), and Zachary (2nd grade). They are members at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church.  Read more about what God is teaching Alison and her family at

 Don't forget tonight is "Get Thrifty"!  From 7 pm to 8:30 pm at The Ledford Center you can learn more about couponing and dressing on a dime while hearing an encouraging word from Stephanie Mills.  All women are invited! 


New Series: Love

Guest blogger Alison Lawson shares on "Heart to Heart in Marriage"

“Love is an action.”  These wise words of my dad almost twenty years ago have been among the most impressionable and practical he has ever shared.  Although applicable in every relationship, this advice is often difficult to employ.  We find ourselves caught up in emotions instead of appropriate actions (or reactions).  During this month of “love”, I would like to share with you a series of posts related to my reflection on and application of these brief words. Let’s begin with marriage.

Do you remember when you first fell in love with your husband?  Maybe it was “love at first sight” or perhaps it happened over time and one day you realized, “Hey, I love this guy!”  Many of us have great stories to tell of those magical moments.  What about now?  Do you still feel the same?  Although years and children sometimes have a way of significantly reducing those feelings, the passing of time should not diminish the love we have for our husbands. In fact, that love should only get stronger if we properly understand that love is an action, not a feeling. 

Consider this scenario.  It’s been a hard day.  You have changed countless number of diapers, wiped up soggy cereal, played with – and cleaned up – an assortment of toys for several hours, and eaten yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  And don’t forget the whining you have listened to all day and the discipline you are trying so hard to instill in each child.  You could use a break. 

You call your husband and share your struggles, hoping he will suggest a meal out or maybe bring you some flowers.  Instead, he arrives home late from work, is tired and cranky himself, and wants to crash in front of the television instead of helping with the children.  Do you feel love for him at this moment?  Definitely not!

This is just one scenario that perhaps you have gone through that may have caused you to question your love for your husband.  Each of us could probably give numerous other situations – laziness, work obsessions, sports obsessions, maybe some we cannot even bare to mention - that drain out all feelings of love for the man we married. 

In moments like these, we must remember that love is an action, not a feeling.  Love is something we give to our husbands even if we do not always receive it back.  It is an unconditional commitment made to a spouse.  We love when he is selfless and when he is self-seeking.  We love when he gets it right and brings home flowers or takes us out, and we love when he makes numerous mistakes and fails to notice our needs.  We love even when the feeling just isn’t there. 

We love him by doing all we can to meet his needs and desires.  Rather than nagging when he is late or preoccupied, we choose to hold our tongues.  We refuse to talk negatively about him to others or angrily showing him our frustration when he is insensitive.  Instead, we gently share our feelings and concerns with him.  We love him by being patient, kind, and thoughtful even when his actions appear self-centered or inconsiderate, because we are not ultimately accountable to him, but rather to God. 

We remember those exciting dating days and those special moments, like our wedding day and the births of our children.  We pray for and seek ways to make more fun and memorable moments in the future while we continue to love him, both in good times and in bad.  Love is not how we feel at the moment, but rather a choice we make.  Let’s choose to love our husbands by our actions.

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Alison Lawson has been a part of the Southeastern community for over twelve years.  Her husband, Michael, earned Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southeastern, and has been employed at SEBTS as the Director of Campus Security since 2002.  Mike and Alison have been married for fifteen years and have three sons whom she home schools: Brandon (7th grade), Nicholas (4th grade), and Zachary (2nd grade). They are members at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church.  Read more about what God is teaching Alison and her family at