Surprise! The nerd with a laptop is anti-social! Stop the presses!
I am. People drain me. And it’s not for the reasons you may think. I enjoy going to church. I love my Sunday School Class and my Bible Study group. My wife and kids are my world.
But outside of that, and a few others, people irritate me.
They’re too loud.
They say stupid, hurtful things.
They have zero attention span.
Did I mention they’re rude?
Sure, you’ll find exceptions to the rule in individuals, but collectively the human race is a dumpster fire, and to interact with it daily is exhausting.
Enter Jesus. Romans 5:8 slaps me in the face every time I read it. “God demonstrated his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Emphasis mine.)
While we were sinners. While we were at our worst. While we were collectively wasting the precious life God gave to us. While we were living in open rebellion to all that is good and righteous. While we were sinners… Christ died for us.
I think people wore Jesus out too. I think there were times when He wanted to be anti-social. There must have been a million times that He thought of us as shallow as our puny and finite minds struggled to grasp the infinite truth He proclaimed. How often must He have walked away shaking his head at our stubbornness? How often must He have been tempted to walk away and not come back.
But God demonstrated His love.
Love sticks. Love doesn’t stop. Love pursues. Love fights. Love labors. Love doesn’t ignore wrongdoing, it forgives it. Love doesn’t overlook our past, it redeems our future. Love doesn’t give up simply because we’re unlovable, and thank God for that.
So when Jesus tells us to “Love your neighbor” He’s not asking us to do anything He hasn’t done already. What’s more, He’s not asking us to do it alone. He’s inviting us to walk alongside Him and love people with Him. When it gets hard, lean into Him. When you don’t know what to do, look to His example. When the emotion isn’t there, love with action and ask Jesus to change your heart. When people reject you, be gracious. And when Jesus leads you to the very type of person you struggle to love, whether it’s because they are gay/black/white/old/young/male/female/atheist/democrat/republican/etc. just remember, He’s teaching you how to see past the labels and see the person made in His image.
It’s not easy. Like I said, people are hard to love. But the Gospel is best displayed when we love those who have done nothing to deserve it and may never reciprocate it.
Let’s be people who demonstrate God’s love to others, even while they are yet sinners.