“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I John 4:7-8
When I was a teenager, we had a new youth leader who was dating our youth director’s daughter. He was in college and doing an internship at our church. He was around 22 and had a lifetime membership to Bally Fitness. I am not sure why I did not like him, but everything he did seemed to rub me the wrong way. I think I was mostly jealous of him because he had a six-pack and I had a spare tire. He tried to relate to me but I brushed off his every attempt. I would cringe when I would see him, and avoided him like the plague even though he tried hard to build a relationship.
I went to camp that summer and they preached a message on God’s love. The message was about loving those who were difficult to love. God started to work on my heart, and it was if He was bringing my youth leader's face into my mind. I tried to tell God he was annoying and arrogant but God continued to convict me. I began to learn that if I was right with God, then I would be filled with love and that love would emanate from me like a fresh sunburn. My love towards others was not a product of me, but rather a product of the Spirit of God indwelling in me. When I was doing right, it was not so difficult to love those people I found hard to love as I could not contain the love of God that filled every part of me.
I have met many people in my life - some who were easy to love and others who made it difficult. I have also been the type of person who was hard to love as and I am sure there are some who struggle to love me as well. We are to love everyone even if they are hard to love. Matthew 5:46 states, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” I still struggle with some people in the love department who rub me the wrong way, but love is the true litmus test of our spiritual growth.
Truly loving someone as God would love requires kindness and gentleness. Does the love of God emanate from your life? Do people see God's love through your life or do they see an Oscar the Grouch? Where are you rated on the litmus test of Christianity? Do people see the love of God in your life? May we be like our God who loved the whole world, and may we love even the Saso Mendez’ in our life.
Stay in the fight!