Choices. In America, we are so grateful that we have them. Lots of them. I mean, life is like a huge buffet. I can say what I want, go where I want, when I want. Now there are some restrictions. I probably can’t fly over Area 51 in Nevada. I can’t yell “fire” in a theater, but you get the idea. But, for a Christ-follower, there is something we can’t choose. We don’t get to pick and choose who we will love or who we will not love. We are given a mandate that is higher and greater than our own selection process.
Most of us tend to categorize people. It goes something like this: There are those we like and hang with. There are those that we neither like or dislike, they’re just neutral in our life. Then there are those that we dislike and avoid. You know the drill. They’re just bad news.
Now I’m not advocating making bad news people your best friends. And, I’m not advocating celebrating a behavior or lifestyle that is wrong or sinful. But loving people is a choice that Jesus made for us. It doesn’t have much to do with “how you feel.” It has more to do with “what you do.”
Something that helps me is adopting an attitude that says “they don’t know what they’re doing.” You and I know that often…they really do know what they’re doing. They know they’re being hurtful and hateful, but I dwell on the idea that “if” they had a new heart, correct information or a meaningful relationship with Jesus, they would act differently. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words on the cross. Words uttered after being tortured, beaten, spit upon, and marginalized said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34