“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 just exude charm. It might be because they are always smiling. Perhaps they’re a bit shy but always finding ways that they can help or serve others. Maybe they are the life of the party and have an uncanny knack for making everyone feel welcome and at ease. Some people just always know the right thing to say and are pouring out encouragement at every opportunity. Whatever it is, there are certain 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 just because they know much it gets on my nerves. I don’t know if they were not loved enough as kids. Perhaps one of their parents dropped them on their heads or something. There are certain people who just rub me the wrong way. I wonder how many people think of me as the one who is rubbing them the wrong way? Nah. Impossible. I’m definitely always one of those people floating in that first category. Right? RIGHT?! (You better be nodding your head)
React: All three of Jesus’ closest friends were notorious for their big mouths or short tempers. Among His crew He also had a couple militant radicals, an IRS agent, a vocal skeptic, and a known thief. It definitely was not an A Team collection. In fact, 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.
So 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.