No matter how much we might say or believe that love makes the world go 'round, I have a sneaky suspicion that everyone has an "unloveable" someone in their life. Christianity is all about love, from the first to the last, and certainly I try to live out Christ's commands to love on a daily basis. Loving and showing that love to my family is huge for me, and I also consider myself a pretty loyal friend to many. I smile at strangers. I try to be kind to frenzied waitresses and store clerks. I'm a soft touch when anyone asks me to give of my time, money, or talent.
Just don't cross me. I'll love you as long as you are nice to me back. Just don't betray me, speak condescendingly to me, or judge me. Because if you do...
Every now and then, those are very real thoughts that go through my mind. I know in my heart of hearts that I don't even come close to loving others the way Jesus wants me to. I much prefer to know who my enemies are are keep them at arm's length. When I'm honest I have to admit: loving my enemies is not something I'm very good at.
But God isn't finished with me yet. He keeps chipping and sanding and polishing me, and for that, I am grateful. Even for those in my life I really don't want to love, I can honestly say I want to want to. And so He keeps working on me and in me. And every now and then He shows me an example of what He can do in the lives of people who are fully committed to Him.
For example, I've recently been learning about a real life situation in a family at our church that is almost beyond belief. Some years ago, a highly successful professional Christian man and his Christian school teacher wife were raising their two children when the man decided to have an affair. The marriage blew up, and the man married the other woman. The man's reputation in the Christian community was shot. In time, the man and his second wife had two children and were moving on in life. Enter God. The second wife started attending a woman's bible study at the church and became a believer. Eventually she persuaded the man to talk to our pastor to see if they might be welcomed into our church family in spite of their wretched past.
Grace, grace, God's grace.
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within...
Grace, grace, God's grace.
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Our pastor was convinced the man who sat before him in his office was not the same person he knew previously. He had been humbled and radically changed by the God who loves without exception. The right hand of Christian fellowship was extended.
But the story isn't over. Today the man and his first wife teach a divorce recovery class at the church. The second wife and the first wife have become good friends and are seen at Starbucks having coffee together. Healing has come to this family, and God is glorified. Our pastor and the man have become close friends and have written a book together which will be out in a few weeks.
All this has got me to thinking about the "unloveable" people in my life. Even though they are few, how can I hold back? If God can cause those two women to love each other for the sake of the Gospel, He can surely help me to love sincerely. I'm counting on it. Without exception.
What about you?