Ephesians 4:2 …bearing with one another in love
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of our Christian walk is actively loving others. Our tendency is to lean our affections toward the easy person, most amiable, admirable, or affluent. We do not like to admit our reluctance to engage the difficult person, the strong personalities, abrasive, or grungy persons. Shamefully, we might even snub them or speak with others about them with callous disdain. While we might think we have a right to look upon the non-believer in this manner, we do not. Even worse, we tend to treat our own brothers and sisters in the Lord with the same indifference. It should not be so.
Personally, I have noticed a distinct inclination to avoid the unlovable in myself. “My” time is precious to me. Therefore, I justify my select attentions based on the need to focus on those to whom I am responsible for. Everyone else, I do not have time to bother with. How pretentious! Once I realized what I was doing I began to take into account each person I purposefully avoided. What is it about them that offends me? Why am I repulsed? What is so difficult about this person that I should not “bear” with him or her? After closer examination I found the very qualities I am offended by are those I found in myself. Like the mirror James refers to in his epistle, I see my natural, sinful self in the mirror and I’m convicted. Who am I to judge my brethren? How can I possibly see any flaw in them with this huge plank of imperfection lodged in my own eye?
The reality is, we are incapable of loving the unlovable (even the unlovable person in the mirror). Our flesh is in a constant state of self-preservation; our base-need to survive. In direct contrast is our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He preserved nothing of Himself. Instead, He humbled Himself as the lowliest of the low and loved the simple and base. He was not provoked or moved to anger by such people. He was patient, kind, bearing with all kinds of misfits; even the likes of us. If we are to love the unlovable like Him, we must imitate Him. We must be willing to abandon self and the very opposite instinct to preserve it with which we were born. Once we do, His perfect love, by the power of the Holy Spirit empowers us to love, demonstrate patience and longsuffering with a genuine respect for persons we had little regard for before.
The love of Calvary; the love demonstrated on the Cross is perfect and powerful and POSSIBLE to a heart yielded to God. May it abound amongst believers, may it pour out over the lost and be a beacon of light in a dark, dark, world desperate for unconditional affection.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.