It would seem to be fairly obvious.
A straightforward request from our Lord if ever there was one.
Love one another.
Yet, in our human hands, how mangled and mismanaged it becomes…
Mostly, because we all seem to have our own set of stipulations:
“Today, I’ll love this guy lining up for soup over here because he looks like he wants to work, that cute little foreign girl on the charity ad over there, and that group of “troubled” teens that comes on Wednesdays, as long as they mostly listen and do the whole pitching in bit. Oh, and, of course, my Bible study buddies. Because they look and talk in ways I am comfortable with.”
You know, the ones to love that don’t take much effort?
Ouch. Yes, that was me feeling the convicting kick in the tail end…😉
Uh, oh. Pick myself up, dust myself off…
More to come…
Yes, the easy ones…
Yet, what about when it comes to that politician whose policies are, well, ungodly?
The audacious reality star who shamelessly thrives on the spotlight, no matter what sins it shows up?
The rich corporate guy who seems interested in only lining his pockets that much more?
The deeply disturbed instruments of satan that unleash mayhem and murder in our cities?
Well, then, love is the last thought on most of our minds, right?
Oof. Told you there was more. 😉
Oh, I know it’s hard. I know how hard. I don’t imagine many of us ponder such grave thoughts too often.
So, well aware I inhabit a rather small group here in even bringing it up.
And, in the interest of assuring you that I don’t consider myself in some rarified, holier-than-thou role, 🙄 let’s bring this out of the abstract, into the perhaps more relatable day-to-day.
Without a long spiel, I have had a lot to forgive in my day:
Childhood abuse, a first marriage abandoned, friendships gone awry.
And I’ve seen incredible restorations in some situations, still in prayer for others.
Beyond that, there are a few souls in the here and now He has placed in my vicinity I can admit a reluctance to let in.
A row of people, honestly, that I would dearly have loved to not be asked to love.
And, yet, He’s asked me.
He asks us all.
To scold? To punish? To crack the whip of suffering and shame?
It has nothing to do with those things.
Rather, it is a reminder of His greatest gift to us:
His love, poured out on the cross, that we might experience salvation.
Life eternal, despite our raggedy, dirty sin, something all of us have. ( And cannot make lesser than our neighbor’s sin, try the comparison game though we might. 🙂)
And, when we remember that, keeping redemption in the forefront of our minds, the resultant outflow ought to be forgiveness where needed and… love!
Love for our fellow man, desirable or not.
Seemingly pristine or not.
A palatable picture of need or not.
Of course, the kind that doesn’t excuse transgression, dismiss you to doormat status, or promote easy believerism, but also the kind that reverently covers a multitude of sins rather than rubbing their noses in it.
That cares enough to pray that these desperately lost find the same cleansing and healing we have known in Jesus’ arms.
A challenge indeed! But one when surrendered to Jesus-as all needs to be- that is well worth taking on.
Prayers and blessings to you, my friends. May we keep fighting the good fight of faith.
And, if you’ve stumbled on this place and have questions about the Jesus I write of, see my info page for how to get in contact. ☺