“Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12:15, The Voice).
I was supremely convicted tonight by a question the Bible study teacher asked us: If you say you love God, and don’t love the people He died for, do you really love God?
I think every one of us, if we’re honest, can point to a person or a group that they have trouble loving. But when I read the words of Jesus, He doesn’t give us suggestions or advice about what to do with people who are hard to love. He flat out says, “Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.”
One of the hallmark characteristics of Abba’s children is that they are known for putting compassion above politics and preferences. They know that Jesus died for every kind of person and people group, so they choose to love them all– gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, Muslim, Hindu, Democrat, Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Black Lives Matter people, white supremacists, socialists, Trump supporters, headbangers, country music fans . . . the list goes on and on.
Jesus died for all of them. God desires for all of them to come to salvation. The best litmus test for the genuineness of our faith isn’t as much perfect doctrine or practices as it is compassion for our enemies and what Jesus called the least of these — those who will never be able to repay our kindnesses and generosity.
It helps me personally to remember that Jesus loved me when I was a least of these. Jesus died for me when I was an enemy. This is the kind of love that God calls us to and in Jesus enables us to live out. This is the kind of love that changes everything.