People always say it’s hard to love people you don’t know. This is true. It can also be difficult to love people you do know. Let’s face it – we aren’t very nice to people we don’t like. Maybe they aren’t like us, they get on our nerves, or we just don’t see eye to eye. They may be a different race, speak a different language, or have different beliefs. We have talked badly about them with others, whispered something rude in passing, and tried to avoid them. We might even call them unlovable. We might laugh at their misfortunes and wonder how anyone could love them. We think we’re better than them, more likable and more lovable. But weren’t we all unlovable before Christ? We never did anything to deserve the unconditional, relentless love of a holy God.
But He loves us anyway. We fall short of His glory every single day. There was nothing we could have ever done to earn His love. The blood of Jesus paid our ransom, and His sacrifice allows God to look upon us with love. Romans 9:25 says that only God made us lovable. He took our shame and guilt. Our burdens and sins and lies nailed His precious son to a wooden cross. No matter how good or how deserving we think we are, God put His son on the cross for our sake. He made us worthy. His Word says “I will call the nobodies and make them somebodies; I will call the unloved and make them beloved.” Beloved. We were the nobodies. He didn’t say He would make us likable or tolerable. He said He would make us beloved. The word ‘beloved’ means ‘dearly loved.’ We are dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe.
The thing is, everybody is dearly loved by Him. Not just some people. Not just the people we like, or the ones we relate to. Everybody. And what right do we have to withhold His love and grace and mercy and compassion from the rest of the world? We might not get along with everyone, but we do have one thing in common – a sinless Savior was crucified in our place. He was shamed so we can be unashamed. He was spit upon so that we can be pure. He was beaten so we can be blessed, and He was unloved so we can be beloved.
Isaiah 43:4 says we are precious and honored in His sight. God didn’t need us. In fact, He’d be just fine without us. But He wants us. He chose us. We are precious to Him. He desires to pour out His love upon us, in our communities, and in our nations. 1 John 3:1 says “what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called His children!” The magnitude of His love should overwhelm you. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand the depth of His love, and I know I can’t repay Him. But there’s one thing I can do – share it. One of my favorite hymns says “How deep the Father’s love for us; how vast beyond all measure. That He would give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.” Regardless of all we’ve done wrong, that’s what I am and that’s what you are – a treasure. So the next time you’re tempted to judge or whisper about someone, don’t. Love them instead. They’re one of God’s precious treasures too.