“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Relate: Some people are easy to like. They exude charm. Maybe they’re always smiling. Maybe they’re a bit shy but they’re always finding ways to help or serve. Maybe they are the life of the party and can make everyone feel welcome and at ease. Maybe they always have the right thing to say and are pouring out encouragement at every opportunity. Whatever it is, there are people in my life that it is very hard not to like. And then there are some others…
Some people just don’t know how to navigate the waters of social dynamics. They’re rude. They smell. They have this thing that they do and whenever I see it I just… ugh. I swear they do it on purpose because they know it gets on my nerves. I don’t know if they were just not loved enough as kids. Maybe someone dropped them on their heads or something. There are some people who just rub me the wrong way. Or maybe its me who is rubbing someone else the wrong way?
React: All three of Jesus’ closest friends were notorious for their big mouths or short tempers. He also had a couple militant radicals in his crew an IRS agent a vocal skeptic and a known thief. It almost seems as if Jesus took the marginalized, the most unlovable people and showered his love and attention on them. Actually, I know that’s true because he said himself that he has come for the sick, not the healthy. I also know that is true because he has showered his love on me.
Who is it at work that rubs me the wrong way? Which neighbor is the one everyone else tries to avoid? Who is the person at church that no one else cares to talk to much? Who is the unlovable? How can I show my love to them? How can I demonstrate to the lonely that they are not alone, to the marginalized that they belong? In what ways can I be Jesus to the ones who need Jesus the most? Can I say I love God if I will not love my neighbor?
God, help me to show my love for You through my interactions with others. Help me to shower Your love on the unlovable. Give me patience to put up with those things that annoy me. Give me perseverance to forgive over and over those who will let me down. Give me trust and insight to understand that You are working on them just as You are working on me. Above all give me Your love, because my own is just far too selective.