We all have a past.
Some of those memories are preserved in photo albums while others burst into our thoughts by hearing the melody of a song. If you are a believer, you were once living in utter darkness, unaware of how your actions affected the lives of everyone around you. You existed solely for self, oblivious to a world of lost and hurting people.
But something happened in the midst of our sin and death. Jesus, the spotless and innocent lamb, whispered to our hearts with love we had never before encountered. Even as we cursed His name, He called us His children. Even while we laughed at those calling themselves Christians, He never once turned His back.
We were created in the very image of God. Genesis 1:27 tells us:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
I love how it’s repeated in that verse. It must be pretty important for us to know we were made like our Father. That’s how much He values us. He could have made the animals in His image, but no, He chose us. He wanted us to be His ambassadors. That very thought alone should drop us to our knees in worship and praise.
There is one thing we can never forget. God didn’t just make Christians in His image. He created everyone with that same design. Every single person on the face of this planet has purpose and value. And those were not determined by people. They were already decided at the moment of creation.
That brings me to the heart of my post today.
No matter what someone believes. No matter how someone chooses to live their life. No matter what things they have done, right or wrong. No matter what, we are here to love people. Period.
Christians get very demonstrative when it comes to voicing opinions about our leaders in government. Especially last week after what President Obama said at the prayer breakfast. I’m afraid we’re spending too much time “ranting” on social media instead of closing the door to our prayer closet and lifting them up to God.
Ranting. Isn’t that just another way to say complaining? Philippians 2 14-15 says:
Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world
If we, as Christians, are complaining just like everyone else, how will we shine as lights in the world?
Matthew 5:43-44 says:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
I love Matthew 5. It has a lot of those “You have heard it said, but I say” examples. Jesus was introducing a whole new way of thinking. Kingdom thinking, which is so totally opposite of the mindset we were born with. We are raised to believe that if someone hurts us, we should hurt them back. If they ignore us, we ignore them. If someone doesn’t believe the same as us, then we don’t have anything to do with them.
We have no excuse to treat people with anything less than unconditional love.
Jesus lived that way while on Earth, and He said to follow Him. He took those nails without complaining. He looked dead in the eyes of the soldiers gripping hammers and asked God to forgive them. He never once stopped loving them.
These people that we so quickly complain about or judge because of their actions…yeah, we were once just like them. Living in darkness with no hope in sight. With no idea of what we were actually doing.
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” – Jesus
We can’t get saved and think Jesus only came for us. He came for the murderers, rapists, child molesters, and drug dealers. He came for President Obama. He came for that guy sitting on death row. He came for all the people we turn up our noses at.
Let’s stop complaining and judging others. We can never forget that we have an example to follow.
His name is Jesus.