So, what holiday is coming up this week? That’s right, Valentine’s Day. What’s Valentine’s Day about? Yep, cards, chocolate, (and if you are married like me or got a boyfriend/girlfriend, you better remember this day). But ultimately, it’s about love.
Well, let’s talk about love for a minute. Think about people you love….mothers, fathers, boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters, brothers (c’mon, you know you really love your brothers and sisters). It’s easy to love them right? What about people that have done something wrong to you? What about bad people in the world?
I don’t know how up to date you are in history, but how many of you have heard of Fidel Castro? He is the ruler over a place called Cuba. He’s has been pretty bad in a lot of cases towards the Cuban people, but is all they’ve known for a long time. Recently, he fell ill and many believe he is close to dying. Did you know the city of Miami (what has a large Cuban population) and other places are planning parties for when he dies? Imagine that!! And, you know, a lot of people who call themselves Christians are waiting on that party.
How many people, who call themselves Christians, have you ever heard say, “I don’t want to be in Heaven if that person is going to be there”? Well, okay….fine, it’s not like you have to be in Heaven anyway. God gives us a choice, and He’d rather you choose to be with Him. Do I think people really mean that? Well no, I hope not, but we shouldn’t say that anyhow. So many of us let those feelings override the love we are supposed to have for one another. Sometimes to the point we form a prejudice and let personal feelings get in the way of what the Lord would have us do.
We are commanded to pray for the salvation of others, and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A lot of people are selfish and choose not to do this, but it truly isn’t an option if you are a child of God. God’s grace is an offering to everyone, everywhere, and it is our job to share it.
So look at this Castro guy again. Some people say, “He’s a murderer!” Well, remember this….the Apostle Paul was too, and look what Jesus Christ did with Him. Some people say, Castro (or insert name here of a hated person, tyrant, murderer, or rapist) deserves to go to Hell. Well, none of the rest of us deserves to go to Heaven. We’re all sinners and deserve to go to Hell too! Only God’s grace, that same grace He offers to everyone, can change that.
But some people just won’t change, you might say. So, you are limiting the power of God? You are making a call that He can’t change someone? How many people have been given up on, just throw in the towel on them because they can’t change? You yourself just gave up offering the one thing that can make a difference in them because YOU don’t think they will change. What if the person the Lord had used to help lead you to Him had given up on you? Would you want that? No, we know that life without Jesus Christ is an eternity in Hell.
So it boils back down to love. God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. The world! He loved and still loves each and every person in this world. The bad habits, the bad mouths, the lies, the cheating, the stealing….He still loves them enough to offer them a way to be in His presence when we leave here. You owe everyone that love too. It is not your job as a child of God to hate…..hate is the exact opposite of EVERYTHING Jesus Christ taught and did. You can find yourself not liking what someone does, but you can’t give up on them. You have to love them enough to share the news of Jesus Christ’s precious Salvation. That’s my challenge to you. Love those you hate or have ill feelings towards, get rid of the hate. But more-so than that, remember, it’s my challenge, but greater than that…..it’s God’s command.
**As a follow-up to this, I was asked...
"Out of all due respect, are you saying we should just love Osama bin Laden? After killing thousands and thousand of innocent people, God wants us to not hate him? Just asking a question!"
My reply is...
That’s EXACTLY what I am saying, and exactly what God commands. It’s really not a choice on whether or not we are supposed to, just a choice on whether we submit ourselves to do His will. Show me one time, anywhere in the Bible where God says to hate. Show me anytime Jesus ever spoke anything but love. Yes, Osama is a terrible man. In what he has done no doubt, but the rest of us have done a lot of bad things in our lives as well.
Here’s the thing, sin is sin to God. Except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, all sin is equal in His eyes. It is what separates us from Him. A lie you may have told in 4th grade to get out of trouble, is no less of a sin than murder in God’s eyes. It is imperfection, and that imperfection makes us unworthy to be in His presence…ever. But Jesus Christ changed all of that. If you lived to be 100 years old and only committed one sin in all that time, but never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, you’d be burning in Hell right next to a serial killer that never accepted Him as well. That saving grace is what makes you no better than the next sinner, no matter how we as humans have “rated” sins and their magnitude, because it is available to everyone. It also proves, just as in God’s Word it states, He is no respecter of persons. Your perception of how good, or innocent someone is compared to another means nothing to Him. He states many times that He loves everyone, but everyone does not choose to love Him back.
I think you need to understand this…we are not to hold the saving grace of Jesus Christ inside. No not even for Osama. Not for Jeffery Dahmer. Not for Charles Manson. Our Lord and Savior proclaimed on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Even in death, He showed love. If you equate Osama as being terrible and worthy of hate because of the thousands he has killed, then wouldn’t those who killed Jesus be even worse? Of course they would…..if sin were on a rating system. But it’s not. And Jesus showed an example of what our walk with Him should reflect… love and compassion even to those who persecute.
You can’t show concern over someone’s fate (Heaven or Hell) without witnessing to them and/or praying for them. You can’t truly, and sincerely pray for someone without loving them either. So since we are commanded to pray for the lost….ALL of the lost….we have to love them too. Yes, it is a hard thing to do, but how hard do you think it would be for you as a father to not want to wipe out whatever inflicted pain, torture, and death to your son if someone killed him? Well, now look at Jesus’ life. We (humans) killed Him, but God did not destroy us. God didn’t hate us…and He had every reason to. He just showed us love by allowing a way to Him, through Jesus.
I don’t think it is possible to “like” everyone as far as what they do, but you can love them. You can be concerned for their future. I would imagine if Osama found the one True God versus the old fake allah of islam, he would change his ways. THAT’S what we have to love and pray for.
In His Grace,
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