May 24, 2017
Learning to Love the Unlovely
- Jim Hager -
- The very first time, in the Bible, that God proclaims His identity, He refers to Himself as merciful and gracious.
The Lord passed before him (Moses) and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).
- God loves us all more than we can imagine.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3).
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this way: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
- Love and mercy matter to God more than my house, my car, my money or my friends.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:9-10).
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited (Romans 1:16).
- Christ’s one commandment was for us to love each other.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life 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).
- God wants us to love even those who have hurt us, people that don’t believe as we do, even those who blaspheme and scoff at our beliefs.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
- It’s easy to love those with whom we have much in common, but Jesus wants us to go farther and deeper, loving those that annoy us and anger us. He wants us to love those who are radically different from us. He wants us to love the unlovely.
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness" (Isaiah 42:6-7).
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that (Matthew 5:46-47)?