Two little girls, of two different races, walking down the hall holding hands, that’s what I saw one morning. As I passed them, one told me (with genuine joy), “This is my sister!”
Young children are many things, but they aren’t naturally biased.
Can we all get along?
The apostle Paul thought so. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ — Galatians 5:14 (NIV). He then warned the church at Galatia that if they kept “biting and devouring” each other, they would destroy each other.
Next, he offers the solution: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” — Galatians 5:16
Only through the power of the supernatural, by God’s grace, can we love others as well as we love ourselves.
🙏 Heavenly Father: please help us to be like those two little girls, today and every day. For, as the song says, 🎶”They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”🎶 AMEN
I met a clown once. He was at the mall making balloon animals for the kids. While he contorted a squeaky red one into a dog for my son, I noticed six cryptical letters embroidered on his costume–where a name tag would be. “IYQYQR” I said,” What does that mean?” “Oh, you don’t speak “clown-lish,” said the red-nosed jester with a grin. “I…like…you..like…you…are,” he said, pointing to each letter.
My new clowned friend was on to something. He must have heard about the guy who said this:
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
At the risk of comparing The Almighty to both a clown and our 26th president, I believe God agrees.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Psalm 103:8,10,13 (NIV)
Clearly, imperfect humans fall far short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23). And our creator doesn’t grade on the curve. He could flunk us all. Thankfully, there’s a merciful solution for our predicament.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
You probably alreadyknow these things. So, here’s my somewhat fresh angle: God likes you like you are. You don’t have to DO anything to earn his endearment. Like that clown at the mall, He just likes you. Period.
The Setting: Christ’s final Passover with His closest friends. (The time has come to sacrifice his life as a ransom for many. He shows the full extent of His love.)
Here’s how an epic Hollywood movie would have envisioned the moment:
As supper is served, Jesus rises from his seat, unsheathes a gleaming sword and says (holding it up to bask in His own reflection),
“Men, this is our finest hour. It’s time to show these religious bigots who we really are–warriors of the Living God! (raises sword toward ceiling) So be brave. Be strong. We shall all die well–except for the traitor.” (drops sword to His waist and stares out the window)
But we both know that’s not what happened.
What Jesus actually did was wash His disciples feet; something none of them was willing to do. His final act of love for them–before His death–was an act of service.
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Jesus – (John 13:15 NIV)
We are all aware of the seven last words of Christ, the things He said while hanging on the cross, but this was at His very public execution. What was the last thing he said (before His death) to those closest to Him–in a more private, peaceful setting?
Back at the supper table, sandwiched between His prediction of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, we find these famous last words:
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus – (John 13:34 NIV)
Service and Love
These are twin beacons of a true follower of Christ, reflections of God’s nature shared with the world.
Sadly, this is not what we see so much today. Many Christians now act more like Simon the Zealot than Simon the Leper (who hosted a dinner in Christ’s honor).
We have politicized and marginalized the simplicity of the Gospel, mixing it with a militant piosity that would make a proud Pharisee blush.
And how does this look to a lost world?
Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi said it best:
“Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians–you are not like Him.”