It hurts to be misunderstood, especially when we’re trying our best to love. We might go the extra mile to help, yet our co-worker suspects we have an ulterior motive. We share some hard truth, as kindly as we can, and our friend responds by shutting us out of her life.
If you’ve been misunderstood, take heart. History’s greatest act of love was misunderstood at the time. No one who saw Jesus on the cross thought His death was an act of love. His enemies believed He was a blasphemer or at least a rebel who was getting what He deserved. “ ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself!’ ” (Matthew 27:42). Passersby assumed Jesus was merely another martyr in a long line of failed revolutionaries. Even His disciples—including His own mother—didn’t understand what Jesus was doing on the cross. They thought He was a tragic victim and didn’t grasp He was dying for them. No one standing at the foot of the cross guessed what was really going on.
It makes sense that sacrificial acts of love are often misunderstood at the time, because it’s part of what makes the sacrifice great. Our love is more heroic when we fiercely love a person who doesn’t understand or, worse, misinterprets our love as hate.
But one day all will be revealed. Just as Jesus explained His death to the disciples on the road to Emmaus—“Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (Luke 24:26)—so He one day “will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Being misunderstood happens to us all, but God can use these challenges to help us grow to be more like Him and to love Him and others even more.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 14:1-14
Read 2 Corinthians 12:14–13:14 to learn how to respond when your love is misunderstood.
Who has misunderstood your loving words or actions? How can you show them you mean well? What can you do to love them regardless of their response?