I was standing in the middle of the church deep in conversation with some of the other leadership when an older woman walks up to me and gets close and whispers in my ear, “The next time your husband films a video from your living room, make sure you straighten up the pictures on your wall first.”
Ummmmmm!!! For literally the first time ever I was speechless. I had literally no words on how I should properly respond to this woman. A week before this exchange happened, my husband had filmed a quick video from our living room to the people of our church. Now, it should just be noted that although yes my picture frames were a hot mess, I have 3 kids, 2 dogs, a husband, and a college guy living in my home. SO yesss, my house is crazy and my picture frames are a hot mess. But all that being said, I was incredibly offended by the “words of wisdom” this woman decided to hand out to me and I let it eat at me for quite a while. Can I honestly tell you that my initial reaction was to love her with ALL of the thoughts running through my head in that moment? No.
"Can I honestly tell you that my initial reaction was to love her with ALL of the thoughts running through my head in that moment? No."
Now if I am being completely honest with you and the people closest to me will agree, I am an easily offended person. I do not know why literally no idea. Things bug me probably way more than they should. I have a running joke with myself now that God often gives me devo inspiration based on the things that He is trying to teach me at the time and this time was no different my friends. The Bible is very clear that we should love as Jesus loves, because He loves us, including and especially to, the people who are so hard to love. Thankfully God gave us the perfect example in Jesus Christ on how to love those who are less than kind to us.
In Luke 22:47:51, we see an incredible example of love and grace for someone so undeserving. In this passage, Jesus is moments away from being arrested and sentenced to death. While He was in the garden speaking to his disciples, one of the twelve disciples, Judas, leads the men seeking to kill Jesus to the place where He is.
The scripture says “While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?” When Jesus followers saw what was going to happen, they said “Lord should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.”
Ok... so many things are happening in this but I want to focus on perhaps one of the most mind-blowing things to me! In this story, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples took out his sword and cut off the ear of a man WANTING TO KILL JESUS and in Jesus’ incredible love and grace He picks up the ear and HEALS THE MAN WANTING TO KILL HIM! What an incredible and crazy awesome example of how we need to continuously strive to love others no matter how ridiculously hard it is. Jesus took an incredibly difficult situation where He had every “right” to check out but instead took the opportunity to show sacrificial love to someone so undeserving. I, as such an imperfect human being, can only hope and try little by little, day by day to become more and more like Jesus Christ through the examples He lived out for us to imitate.
"Through this kind of love, Jesus shines and people will know Him!"
Loving people when it is hard is what we are called to do as Christians. Jesus says in John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you,” that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” To love someone is amazing, but to love someone when it is hard is incredible and it is through that kind of sacrificial love that Jesus Christ truly shines. Through this kind of love, Jesus shines and people will know Him!