People Jesus Loves: Introduction

There is a lot of hate in this world. There is a lot of hate in America, even from within the Christian Church. Sometimes that ‘even’ becomes ‘especially’. Mahatma Gandhi famously said “I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”

I say this because I want to make the intent of this (what I hope to be) series clear. I am not saying “I love these people like Jesus does, and you don’t, and you should, and I’m somehow better than you.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The subject of each of these posts, be they specific or vague, were chosen because they are an individual that I have a hard time loving, where I know I should.

It was Saturday night that I went over to a friend’s house to hang out. This was still in the shaky aftermath of CPAC and I still hadn’t completely acclimated to “normal society” – the ripples of the Conservative Political Action Conference were still rocking the boat.

Watching John Stewart do a debrief on the conference I had been at a week earlier was surreal for me. As much as we like to claim that he’s simply making fun, and that it’s all in good humor, I have to wonder. I see people I met at the conference – imperfect, but good, caring people – who are included in a montage talking about the ridiculousness of the event. I see the earnest concern for America and the split feelings of ambition and hopelessness being glazed over in favor of gimmicky, flaccid political posturing.

We could talk about our fellow human beings struggling to make the world a better place, somehow, like the rest of us… or we could mock them relentlessly because it gets us viewers and money.

This is not only from comedic commentary shows, but those claiming to be real journalists. Sure, it’s done in humor, but is it done in love? This question seems to make everyone uncomfortable… myself included. But by saying it I’m not trying to place myself above anyone else. Why does no one get that? I’m speaking firstly to myself. Am I required to be perfect to speak of what Jesus has called us to? Am I required to be without sin to even speak of the teachings of the one who is, Jesus Christ?

Look at the parable of the Good Samaritan. Would we be the ones to say “I know that you saved our battered and bleeding friend from death on the side of the road, but you’re a Samaritan and someone we’ve decided to hate, so we’re going to beat you bloody throw you into the dirt, just like those robbers did to our friend.”

It’s a vicious cycle! It’s the “us vs. them” that makes me so uncomfortable when spending time in the political arena. It becomes less about making a difference in the country and more about taking turns hitting someone with a cane on the floor of congress.

I saw a comment on a video of one of a commentator I like whose tagline includes the words “love and peace.” The person leaving the comment called her delusional and said that eventually she’ll learn that the only real change comes from war and bloodshed.

What!? I’m sorry, but if you want war and you want bloodshed, that’s unhealthy and wrong. You want hate? How wicked can we be? There’s a fine line between being aware and prepared for the trouble that’s coming your way and itching for a fight.

If I hear “Molon Labe” one more time I might not be able to contain myself. Come and take it? Come and take my weapons, it implies, so I can gun you down. Let’s fight back against the man, you say, I’ll shoot ’em up!

Really? You’re inviting that on yourself? You’re inviting that on all of us, you think “Molon Labe” is a good thing?

Check yourself.

I’m an ignorant person, I’ll be the very first to admit that. I understand very little. I fully relate to Paul when he said in his first letter to the church in Corinth, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

I can say with certainty very little aside from that. I know that God became man in Jesus, I know that Jesus was sent to serve as both teacher and perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind, I know that he fulfilled God’s divine plan of reconciliation between God and man, and I know that he was raised from the dead in the ultimate act of victory over the shackles of death, I know that he offers the same victory for us through him, and I know that he did all of this out of an infinite love for all of us.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loves everyone.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Do we take this literally? Not always. God’s love doesn’t begin once we believe in Jesus. It’s eternal, before and after. I know not everyone claims to follow Jesus. I know that many who claim to follow Jesus actually don’t. I know we get angry when we feel challenged to meet his standard, and I understand, because it’s not possible through our own works.

I am not judging or condemning you, because to do so would require me to judge and condemn myself – standing on my own I would be found guilty. I have been redeemed solely by Jesus Christ in me. He has lifted my sentence, but he has not removed my crimes.

The intention of this series, Lord willing and give me endurance, is to simply look at the type of people Jesus loves.

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