I have a bit of a confession to make. Generally speaking, I am one who loves people, quite easily too, but there are two groups of people that have been harder for me to not get agitated with, to say the least. These two groups of people have, in the past, caused the love all people theme music record to scratch, after which point I find it difficult to show them love.
One group is my friends who are always going on and on about hate speech, what is and isn’t politically correct and how conservatives are bigots. I am fine with that until I start to see them, and only them actually, posting things on Facebook condemning, belittling and demeaning people who don’t think or believe as they do. These are also the same group of people who says the infamous, “If you believe x, unfriend me now!” Seriously, isn’t this the definition of bigotry? Isn’t this intolerance personified? Did the definition suddenly change because the shoe is on the other foot? It’s interesting to see this over and over and I can’t even say it’s my liberal friends because that’s not true. I have liberal friends who are more consistent with their beliefs. Their stuff actually matches. Plus, it’s always baffling to see Christians who are more liberal in their thinking than some of my non Christian friends who appear to have far more values and morals that are consistent with how God calls us to live.
The second group is Christians. The ones who miss the good old days of preaching hell and damnation to anyone within earshot. This group, more than the other, is tough to deal with as this group is supposed to be different. Here’s the thing, we are to model Christ, point blank. I’m open to the possibility of missing it but I have never seen where Jesus approached sinners (unbelievers) in the manner that I have seen other Christians approach them, in order “to get them saved.” John 3 :17 says God sent His son into the world, not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. Jesus came to save sinners, not judge them. He became sin for sinners so they could possibly escape judgement by believing in Him (see 2 Cor. 5:21). I just don’t see where there’s any room for followers of Christ to behave in a manner that contradicts how Jesus walked here.
When they brought the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, he didn’t choose the guy with the best arm to throw the first stone. He didn’t bring more shame and guilt down on her, and he could have, he never committed any sin mind you. Instead, he said those infamous words, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Then, after they all left, he asked where her accusers were and when she said they had left, he said that he, spotless, sinless Jesus, didn’t condemn her either. He told her to go and sin no more. Why? Because if she did that again and was caught, he may not be there to stop them from killing her!
When Jesus saw Zaccheus up in the tree trying to get a good view of him as he walked by, he didn’t knock him off the tree and shame him in front of the crowd. He could have very well done that. Zaccheus was a mess and everyone knew it and hated him for it. Jesus astounded them all by telling Zaccheus to come down because he was inviting himself to have dinner with him, lol!
The only people I recall Jesus going off on were the Pharisees, the religious leaders who claimed to be about God’s business. He referred to these people as a hypocritical brood of vipers. These were the know it all folk who “were only doing what was right.” They didn’t care about people at all. They loved their positions, titles, places of honor and all it afforded them and they didn’t like Jesus coming around changing things, drawing the attention away from them and their agenda.
These days, the Lord is working on my heart towards such groups. He is helping me to see past their behavior and pray for them with love. He’s doing this really cool thing where He shows me what’s behind it all whether it be an orphan spirit, religious spirit, fear or a combination since oftentimes the orphan and religious spirit seem to go hand in hand. When this happens, I can begin to have compassion for even the harder to love people who oftentimes need love the most.
Also, here’s the thing, we are commanded to love one another as Jesus has loved us. That’s a tall order. Romans 13:8 says owe no man anything but love, saying that love is the only debt that should remain outstanding for us all. So you see? I can’t afford to not love others, no matter what. Also, when one experiences the love of God, it’s not so easy to not pour out that same love on others, especially those who obviously need it most.
So let’s change the world together by becoming love and giving it away. We have been empowered to do so. He wouldn’t have commanded it if it were an impossibility. Let’s choose to love on purpose the next time we come across those we tended to find unlovable in the past. After all, we have received so much love from Him. We have freely received. We should be more than happy to freely give. We can do this!