“Everyone needs compassion, a love that’s never failing. Let mercy fall on me. Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior. The Hope of nations.” - “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong
“You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
In the past weeks I am finding that the Lord has been showing me, in so many different ways, that loving people is what will bring the most glory to His name. In my life, I have spent countless hours reading and having those “deep and intellectual” conversations with pastors, seminary students and others who are searching for the new and profound interpretation of scripture. And, while those conversations have produced much knowledge, God always puts me right back to the simple truth of two of His greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “'Love your neighbor as yourself”.
Sometimes we can throw out some of the must powerful and life changing scripture and quotes and it will fall on deaf ears because, sometimes, what a person really needs is just for you to sit down and ask them how things are going and MEAN IT. For you to just ask them over for dinner or out for a cup of coffee. For you to send them a card or pray with them when things aren’t perfect. For you to just sit in silence and listen as they pour their hearts out. For you to give them one of those hugs that says “I’m so happy that you are in my life”. My belief is that if we would become more aware of what condition the hearts are in around us and meet those needs according to God’s instruction on love, then we would see many, many more people come to know the Lord and be His disciple. These days it’s hard to find someone that’s genuine. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s even harder to find a Christian who is genuine. I think it’s the Sunday morning shuffle of, “Hey! It’s great to see you!” and “we should really get together sometime” that we really need to work on backing up. Because, to some of those people that you say, “we should really get together sometime”, they cherish that and wait for that call because they “really need” to have someone spend time with them.
Have you ever met those Christians that witness their Christian morals instead of witnessing Christ? Those people that love to tell you how they don’t drink, they don’t watch R rated movies, they don’t listen to secular music, they pray 9 hours a day and read the bible for 5, that they attend church every Sunday and pay their tithe. These people drive me mad because if you are talking to someone who does not know the Lord, this is not the way to give them a desire to turn their hearts over to Christ. They are thinking, “oh good. RULES. Who doesn’t love living by a list of rules?” These are usually the same people who would be considered part of the popular “Christian’s are hypocrites” group. These people, those who do not know the Lord, are in need of someone to be their friend and tell them of Christ’s amazing hope and love that is offered to absolutely anyone. No one is exempt from His love and mercy…they just have to take it.
As the “Mighty to Save” song states above, EVERYONE needs compassion, a love that’s never failing. EVERYONE needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior. No matter how filthy their past or present may be, they NEED a Savior. They NEED a Hope. The NEED Love. And we have been commissioned by Christ as his ambassadors to spread his gospel…which is all about love.
God never said that being a Christian would be easy. But He did say that it would be worth it and He did die for us so that we may have abundant life. So, even though loving people can be inconvenient to your schedule and to your mood swings, this has nothing to do with us. I believe that God does want us to enjoy life but that is not the reason we are here. We are here to accomplish His will no matter the cost. Which is still hard for me at times, I will admit. But each day the Lord is showing me more and more how much He needs for me to get out of “what’s best for me” mode and get uncomfortable and start loving the way He loved.