“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV
“I don’t want to give that to so-and-so,” I told the Lord in no uncertain terms as I continued day by day to go through my possessions and give away or throw away almost everything but bare essentials as I prepared to embark on the road with America as my missions field. This particular possession was something fairly expensive, in my estimate anyway, that I wanted to continue to use for the dogs. Or give to someone really nice to me. Like the person I had originally thought He wanted me to give it to. “That person’s nice to me,” I reminded the Lord – as if He needed the reminder. The person He wanted me to give the item to had been mean to me for years. Someone who professed to be a Christian but who had never once shown a genuine ounce of love toward me and acted as though I were nothing more than a piece of bothersome dirt under her feet. Ouch.
“This person needs to see my love,” He reminded me He had told me. God’s greatest commands are to love Him with all our hearts and to love others as ourselves, right? Yes, of course. But there are exceptions, right? Like when it comes to mean people. God doesn’t want us to be doormats, and we’re supposed to have boundaries, right? That’s the world’s view, right? But this isn’t about the world, is it? It’s about God and His Word.
We are commanded not to just love God, but to love His creation. To love others. Without exception. The Bible doesn’t add the words “except mean people,” does it? Jesus didn’t die for just nice people, did He? Do you know how Jesus commands us to love one another? Like He loved us! How did He love us? He died the most heinous death of all time and took our sins and God’s wrath at us upon Himself. So we could repent and turn to Him forever and be forgiven and have a forever relationship with God. As if that’s not enough, He came to earth as a man when He could have stayed in heaven as God and resisted all temptation and lived every breath of his life on this earth for others. He sacrificed absolutely everything for us. He died while we were still sinners! For the ungodly! (Rom. 5:6-8) For me and you! Including for mean people! That’s how He loved!
My flesh said NO WAY that day. But the new heart God has given me through Christ said YES! Let this person see Christ in me and experience His love through me! That she, too, might repent and come to Him and know and love and worship Him forever! NONE of us deserves God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, kindness, a relationship with Him now and forever in heaven. It is only through Christ we can have this. Should we not show ALL others His love that they may be drawn to Him and receive what can only be any of ours by God’s grace alone? YES!