There is no one you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.
I didn’t originate that statement, but I want to ask if you believe it. Every time I read it, it makes me do some heavy thinking. Is that what the writer of the Psalms had in mind when he said, “The Lord will count when He writes up the people that this man was born there”? (Ps 87:6KJV) When we stand before God does He take into account the events of the journey and where we’ve come from?
There’s a mindset prevalent in this generation that often asks, “Well, what do you expect…?” I passed an unkempt dude in a shopping mall in Oregon once who was wearing a T-shirt that said, “If you knew my family, you’d understand.” And yet, He knows our flesh, He knows we are weak. He knows we have been damaged not only by our own rebellious choices, but also by the cumulative effects of 6,000 years of sin.
See, I’m convinced that God is not impressed with our excuses because His grace is sufficient to overcome all of our inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil. If it’s broken, He can fix it. If it’s crooked, He can straighten it. If it’s cracked, He can heal it. If it’s soiled He can clean it up. Full stop. You and I have both sung often and with fervor, “Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.” I saw a plaque recently in a Christian book display that said, “The Man on the middle cross said I could come, too.” Hallelujah. The point is, when that sinks in it changes how we look at everyone else. Is it a stretch to say it makes us look better?
We have a book in our library titled, “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them.” I’d like to challenge that position because I contend that virtually everybody shows up broken till we learn to look at them through the eyes of Jesus and understand their story. And as He infuses His heart into ours it changes our view. Is it a stretch to say He helps us look better?
That’s what makes the church family such a unique place. We learn to look at everyone through eyes of love. We have no false expectations of others because we understand that no one in the family is perfect. When they do things that hurt us, or betray us, or disappoint us, our response is to pray for them, immediately lavish forgiveness on them, and praise God that they’re part of His family.
By Don Jacobsen