It’s amazing to me that just by human nature we gravitate to what is familiar, common, “safe” to us and in doing so we build our network of friends, associates and community around such. In essence, we build our world with a pretty picket fence that only lets certain people in.
Yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Bible doesn’t give prerequisites or qualifying credentials for what “neighbors” we are to love. Love your neighbor means just that…whoever you are around!
I was taught from an early age to love people, all people. To look beyond what may be different and celebrate the heart of a person. I was also taught that just by being biracial I would encounter people who could not get past what they saw as different but for that not to stop me from being me, or allow it to hinder my vitality for life. I was no less than anyone else just because I may have been the only little brown girl in my class or neighborhood. I was taught to celebrate the best of the worlds I came from and honor the fact that I was a designer’s original. No one was like me and for that reason, I had something to celebrate and honor.
Coming from that mindset I have very little tolerance for those who exclude themselves from people because of differences such as race, economic status, political views, religion or dare I say it, sexual orientation. I know what the Bible says and I’m not suggesting we compromise values to appease people. However, I do struggle with those who are called to love as Christ loves us and yet sometimes the most hateful things are spewed from those who call themselves Christ followers.
I’m not interested in your bank account, I’m interested in your soul and where your destiny lies. I don’t have to vote the same way as you to have respect for you as a person. I don’t celebrate cliques but rather honor community. I don’t want to change your life, I just want to introduce you to a love that will fulfill you!
I’m not persuaded to reduce my convictions to be your friend. However, I will love you and walk with you in this life and hopefully show you a love more powerful than the things that we don’t agree on. I’m not suggesting we engage in dysfunction or stay in toxic relationships for the sake of love. I do believe in boundaries, but I also know I don’t have to agree with you to love you.
The only way that this love walk can be mastered is when I acknowledge my need for Christ. I’m flawed, broken and in need of love that looks beyond my many imperfections. To me that is what makes grace truly amazing. I get to be an extension of the same love shown to me to someone else.
When we look at the life of Christ, He could be found among those who were considered outcast and the overlooked. When He chose His disciples, He didn’t take a vote on who was most popular or, in today’s culture, who had the most social media followers. He looked at the heart of the person and His presence in their life caused them to turn this world upside down with a revolutionary movement that is in motion to this day!
His love has come to conquer all. His love has come to heal the brokenhearted. His love has come to restore the faith of the hopeless and helpless. His love has come to bridge the great divide.
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