Who do we hate? Who do we despise? That woman on television, the guy at work, the annoying neighbor, the ex-spouse? We all have someone that just drives us up the wall, that we just cannot stand to be around. We have people who have hurt us or someone we love. We know people that have absolutely done us wrong, they’ve stolen, lied, and cheated us. Other people just have different ideas about life and it makes us crazy that they don’t see things our way. Some folks just believe something that we could never imagine ourselves believing and because of these differences we just plain don’t like them.
The news is that there are people in each of these groups that feel the same way about each of us. We are hated, we have hurt, we deserve contempt. Even so, God felt for us. He loved us. He saved us. And even as he sent his son to die for us he also sent him to die for all those people that we don’t like.
I think I am a fairly decent person. I have morals and ethics. I pay my bills and take care of my family to the best of my ability. Heck, I even open doors for old ladies and teach my kids to do it too! Does this make me worthy of God’s grace and those that I consider “bad” unworthy? And who am I to consider anyone bad in the first place? Does anything I do make God love me anymore than all those people who have hurt me? Of course not!
We are called to love our enemies (yes, even that guy!), and to pray for God’s blessing on them. We are called to engage the world and bring God’s grace and love into it. It is great that each of us are good and upright (all my readers are good and upright, right?), but that is not the end of it. That is only a part of a greater plan, a plan to seek out the people that God loves and to engage them. We can’t let our families, friends, and churches insulate themselves from those that are different and forget that God loves us all the same. There is no us and them to God, we are all his children and we all sin and fall short.
For those of us who have found the grace of Jesus, it is our responsibility to take it to our world. In our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. To those that we love and those that we particularly don’t care for, Jesus wants them all to come into his kingdom. It is you and I, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that can lead them there. We are commanded to do so.
“Lord, give me a heart for people. Where I have become calloused, change me. Where I have been hurt, heal me. Where I hate, convict me. Help me to extend your grace to all I meet, to all I know. Use me as you see fit. Take my life and use it to bring glory to yourself.”