It’s easy to love kind, lovely, humble people. I mean, who wouldn’t? These are the ones I’ve spent much of my life loving. Loving the people who are easy to love made me feel like I was really good at it. Because the people I loved were kind and wonderful, they made sure they told me what a great job I was doing loving them.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that I was avoiding the people I didn’t understand and the ones who lived differently than me. Here’s why: some of them intimidate me. Sure, I was polite to them, but sadly, I’ve spent my whole life avoiding the people Jesus spent His whole life engaging. God’s idea isn’t that we would just give and receive love but that we could actually become love. The way we do this can be summarized like this:
His plan is that we would love everybody, always.
People who are becoming love see the beauty in others even when their off-putting behavior makes for a pretty weird mask. What Jesus told His friends can be summed up in this way: He wants us to love everybody, always—and start with the people who intimidate us.
Face your fear. Ask yourself: why does this group scare me?
Chances are your judgment comes from false assumptions. Stereotypes are usually wrong.
The truth is, we probably scare them as much as they do us.
Are there people you should give a wide berth to? You bet. There are people in my life and yours who are unsafe, toxic, and delight in sowing discord wherever they go. God gave us discernment, and we should use it as we live our lives. He’s also given us love and understanding and kindness and the ability to forgive, which have a power we often leave untapped. There’s a difference between good judgment and living in judgment. The trick is to use lots of the first and to go a little lighter on the second if we want to live the big life Jesus talked about.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This devotion is based on Bob Goff's book, Everybody, Always, with some variations as they related to Lutheran Indian Ministries. Buy the book here.