During February, many people will talk about “love”. That’s wonderful! God wants us to express our love for others. However, the love that people talk about most often is the love they have for people who love them in return. We should also talk about the kind of love Jesus showed us – an unconditional love that was there even when we did not show love in return. It is easy to love those who love us, but consider this month, loving those who have hurt you or caused you pain. The following Q&A was taken from the WELS web site (www.wels.net/jump/qa) and speaks about a love that overcomes past pain.
Q: How can we reaffirm our love to someone who has caused us grief?
A: I appreciate your question because you seem to be working with the assumption that we are indeed to affirm love for others despite the fact that they may have wronged us or brought us grief. There is no question in Scripture that our love is to be patterned after that of our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ — a love that is freely given, also (or especially) to those who have not necessarily shown love and kindness to us first.
You ask "how" we can affirm Christian love to such people. If you mean how we can find the strength or sufficient desire to do this, the answer would be through the power of the Holy Spirit given through the gospel. As we grow spiritually and understand just how deeply loved we are and how secure and blessed we are through Christ, then the motivation and ability to love others comes with our faith. Showing a Christlike love is a fruit of saving faith, an expression of our faith-life. It sees others as an object of divine love, seeks what is best for the other person, and is willing to risk being hurt because it is confident that our Lord will meet our greatest needs no matter what. Sections like 1 John 3 and 1 John 4 remind us of this connection between God’s love and our love. The more familiar 1 Corinthians 13 offers a memorable description of Christian love but at the same time reminds us of the love Christ showed to us first.
Or if you are asking "how" in the sense of "what is the most fitting way to express love" to the other person, that will depend on the needs of the other person, the kind of relationship you have with that person, and a good measure of sanctified common sense that seeks to do what is most appropriate at a given time and place with specific people. In these matters, you should seek the counsel of your pastor or another trustworthy Christian who can share advice that reflects a greater familiarity with you and the situation in which you find yourself.