“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Love is universal. Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. have experienced love. Whether it was felt through a loved one, a small act of kindness from a stranger, or love from the Creator—we can all agree that love is something that is both powerful and needed.
Whenever I hear of stories on the news or radio of people hurting themselves and others, my heart more often than not err on the side of justice. Hard-pressed questions begin to pound out of me such as: How could they do something like that? What were they thinking? And I don’t know about you, but I begin to judge and be very critical of the perpetrator all the while claiming that I love Jesus.
But then, I would often hear the Holy Spirit tenderly whisper into my heart and remind me that hurting people hurt other people. CONVICTED! Here I am ripping apart a person I barely even know and forming judgments without even knowing all of the facts.
I am not writing this to excuse the wrong behavior of others, but, I do, however, would like to shed some light on the heart of Jesus and what He is calling His church to do.
When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) -- He didn’t just mean the people who treat us good, the people who make all the right choices, and the ones who deserve it. In fact, He meant just the opposite. He wants us to love everyone because, when you actually think about it, we are all imperfect human beings who needs God’s grace and mercy on a daily basis.
If someone has wronged me or others, I have to continually remind myself that God is my defender and He will convict and punish—my job is to love them anyway.
Loving difficult people can be the hardest thing to do, but I can assure you that God will give us the grace to forgive and love the people we are not fond of.
You see, people act and respond out of the voids and pain in their own hearts. The more we love on people, the more they will see Jesus in us, and the less they will hurt others. Love has the power to change the world and it must permeate out of the church.
Let’s love others out of the grace and love given to us by the Father. The world is in desperate need of it.