Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Loving the Unlovable

I don't know who you have trouble loving, but here are some of the people on my current top 10 list:

- the guy on the infomercial selling mineral water that is "anointed" so if you BUY it and drink it all of your debt will be miraculously erased
- the people who call themselves Christians and spend their Sunday mornings protesting outside of other churches with signs that say things like "God hates people that _______." (I've read the Bible several times and I've never read anything about the people God hates.)
- the people taking hatchets into schools in China, using them to hurt and kill little children
- the people kidnapping 5-year old girls and using them in the sex trade

...this list could go on and on.

It's interesting in some ways because, if I'm honest, there are people on death row who I could find a way to love a lot more easily than the guy on the infomercial blatantly misrepresenting Jesus and people who follow Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I get that I'm being self-righteous by loving people who haven't directly impacted my life and thus feeling good about my forgiveness-meter while despising the people who make my life and my job and my convictions more difficult. In addition to being self-righteous, that's also called hypocrisy because I preach forgiveness all the time and only practice it when it's convenient.

And so, I'm constantly convicted by the fact that Jesus loves every person on my unlovable list - even the guy going out of his way to make Him look bad. Jesus says in Matthew 5, "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you."
Here's the thing, I don't have to love, like or condone a lot of what people do - there's even such a thing as righteous anger. But I do have to love people and see far enough to know that they are fellow children of God and people in need of God's grace just like me.

Who are you wasting time and energy hating today? What unlovable moments has God loved you through lately?

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