A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35 NIV
We were waiting at the deli counter when I caught a glimpse of a beautiful blue dress out of the corner of my eye. I heard muffled voices likely talking about meat and cheese, but my mind was focused on selecting something for lunch. Then I realized the kids were staring.
I thought I taught them not to sta... oh. The blue dress! There was a very tall man standing there, politely ordering his cheese and wearing a beautiful blue dress. He smiled at us and I smiled in return and he walked away.
Now I'm left thinking, how do we love, genuinely love those who look, act or believe very differently than we do? It's very easy for me to love my sister, and many of my friends when we share the same faith in Jesus. But, what about those who don't know the Lord? Or those who live counter to His Word and don't seem to care? Or, what about people who are of a completely different faith, where we have no common ground? How do we love them?
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a great "love list". This is so helpful! My main hang-up when I find it hard to love someone is my pride. If I think I'm better than someone else, it will be hard for me to love them. Or, with the man in the deli, if I "kept a record of wrongs" (verse 5) and told him that men really shouldn't wear dresses, then I've missed an opportunity to love him and witness to him.
Loving those who see things the way we do, and act like us, is easy. Loving those who are hurt, broken, misunderstood, or have a prickly personality, is where the challenge is and where we need to be. Who needs the love of Jesus today?
There is need all around. Ask the Lord where He wants to use you to show His love, compassion and grace. Paying for the person behind you in a fast-food line is a good place to start. Kind words to another shopper, opening a door, an offer to pray, or just an arm around a hurting person as you listen, can all be acts of love. Pray specifically and the Lord will show you where He needs you to serve.
Gracious, Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that sustains and blesses us. Please show us who needs Your love today. Help us to not judge, or allow our pride to get in the way, but to love people with the pure, genuine love that comes from You. In the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.