Called to Love: Loving the People Who Don’t Deserve it

I’ve started thinking about it far too early. I know it’s coming. In a matter of months, some of my most beautiful, sensible, well-meaning friends will get their hackles up and then…

Election time will be in full swing.

I know. Maybe you don’t want to think about it yet. Made you look! Sorry. I don’t want to think about it either.

I love the fact that our freedoms in this country allow us to speak openly about our administrations and institutions, bringing light to issues that need addressing.

It’s the anger that I can’t stomach.

And sadly, anger doesn’t need a special occasion every two or four years to turn people into raving lunatics. Take me, for example; you don’t even want to think about the anger that has erupted from my mouth the last few days.

I wanted to write something brilliant here. I did. Something truly original that would help everyone see each other the way God sees us. Something revolutionary.

All I can do is repeat what I have learned from the Word: God is pursuing you each day. He is pursuing me, and my neighbor, and the people in my house, and the people I don’t know, and the people I don’t like. Like, really don’t like. Dare I venture the word hate?

For God so loved the world… I don’t see a loophole there.

God’s love pursues the ones who don’t deserve it; which is good news, the best news, because that is all of us.

He doesn’t deserve it. She doesn’t deserve it. Praise God, because neither do I.

It’s been fifteen years now. Fifteen years to the day since I entered into a covenant with Scott in which we promised that we will show each other the love of Christ even when we don’t deserve it. Especially then.

And you know what? It hasn’t always been easy but, by the grace of God, that is what we have done.

I have a good marriage. A really good one. An excellent, albeit very flawed, shadow of the marriage that is ours in Christ Jesus.

I have a great husband. The best God could give me. But he is nothing without Jesus Christ. And our marriage is a sham if it is not built on the Chief Cornerstone.

Happy endings and rich relationships aren’t born out of a lack of conflict. They are cultivated in a soil of vulnerability and mistakes, begging and extending forgiveness. They are redeemed, bruises and all, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Happy endings and rich relationships are not the default outcomes. They are not guaranteed. They are not the rule. They are gifts from a God who relentlessly pursues relationship, who offers reconciliation that costs us nothing and Him everything.

What would it be like if we pursued others the way God does?

 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

Ephesians 5:1-2

It’s been over 2000 years now. Over 2000 years ago Christ’s blood was shed so that God could enter into a covenant relationship with me, with you. A covenant He authored and instituted. A covenant that purchased us once and for all, and yet still promises that for every single day of our life, and into eternity, He will be Good to us in a way that only God can be.

It doesn’t matter what the relationship is: coworker, friend, family, acquaintance. That person across the kitchen table, the building, the aisle, is a soul Christ died to save. A soul to which God extends His mercy and grace.

It bears repeating: God’s love pursues the ones who don’t deserve it.

That person in the mirror is a body and soul created by a loving Father who knows all the filth the heart keeps stashed away and yet He still seeks it.

Hear His words for you, Child of His Promise:

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:7

This love is ours in Jesus Christ. Let this knowledge inform all our actions and responses in the days and months to come. Let us pray for a mighty outpouring of God’s love precisely in the moments when the world is compelling us towards hate and strife. And let us have the courage to be decanters of that love to a world dying of thirst.

Love to you all, brothers and sisters.

Photo credit: Engin Akyurt

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