Do We Really Love Jesus?
The reason I ask is this; it is easy to say that we love Jesus when we are not really thinking about Who He is, but when we really understand Who He is and all He went through....sometimes we come to realize that we don't love Him as much as we thought we did. I know this stings. It stings me too.
If Jesus was growing up in poverty today, He would be a kind-hearted, obedient, unselfish boy who lived in a house that was possibly run-down, or maybe He would live in subsidized housing that many of us drive by many times. He would have lived in areas which are notorious for drugs, crime and more. He would not have fancy clothes. His family would probably not be driving a fancy car. We might be afraid to go into His neighborhood. We might also make condescending remarks about the community He lived in and try to avoid it like the plague. We might laugh at His family. We might overlook and ignore Him because He was just a good boy who lived in a bad area of town.
We might tell His parents; What's wrong with our church school? We provide great education. You should send Jesus here. We might call Jesus unsocialized, old-fashioned, straight laced, super conservative, super liberal, extreme, too accepting, or on the fringe. We wouldn't think He was cool. We wouldn't think He was good looking.
If Jesus was an adult living on earth today, we might look down on Him because He would be homeless and because He would spend a lot of time with people who spoke broken English, with people who worked at fast food restaurants, with people who were janitors at Walmart and with people who lived in the ghetto's, and in the hood's.
We also might not like Him because He would be too conservative and too strict to many of us, and too liberal and too lax to many others of us. He would endure almost endless criticism from pastors and church elders, and from other people who held prominent roles in the church yet would never become bitter against them or loose His love for them. Meanwhile, everyone would know that He was the kindest, most patient and most non-judgmental person anyone could ever meet, and many of us would be flocking to Him, longing to be with Him and to listen to Him.
He would irritate people because He would take a loving interest in government leaders-both Democrats and Republicans. He wouldn't care about a person's political affiliation. He would attend White churches, Black churches, Asian churches, Hispanic churches, Native American churches. He would attend liberal churches and conservative churches. He wouldn't go around criticizing and condemning people, but He would also be known to speak out against wrongs both within and without the church.
He would never enjoy joking at anyone else's expense and honestly, many people would regard Him as being too serious. He wouldn't enjoy foolishness and levity, but He would enjoy good laughs about innocent life happenings.
He would visit new immigrants and refugees and make them feel loved. He would protest against racism against minority groups and He would stand up in the defense of all oppressed peoples. He would hate sin, but He would love sinners.
He would not be jealous of wealthy people and he would not spend his time comparing Himself with them and avoiding them. He would love them and treat them with the same dignity and respect with which He treated everyone else.
When I went to a poor reservation, I was anxious to head home. I was not grateful for the opportunity I had to shine God's love and light in such a needy place. When I went to feed at a homeless shelter, I was just okay there; not especially appreciative of the opportunity I had there. When I went to a ghetto, I scorned a struggling mother there because of the poor life choices she had made which had brought her family into the position they were in. I hardly heard the comments of a mother who now wanted to take steps toward positive life changes. When I heard a person describe racial discomfort, I thought; Don't be so hurt by what they said. No big deal. When I heard about police brutality, I thought; Did you have a provoking outfit or hairstyle? When I saw people who were full of God's love, I thought too much about their shortcomings and too little about how much God was using them. Frankly, I didn't understand how much they were reflecting Christ. I compared myself with wealthy people and so I was not able to love them with the love that Christ has for them. Then Jesus brought conviction to my heart, and I have been on a painful, enlightening, healing journey ever since.
I grieved when I heard that the church on the very poor reservation had closed, I was upset. Not too long afterwards, I grieved because I wish that I had been more grateful and happy during the times that I have been privileged to go and help my brothers and sisters who lived on the reservation.
I volunteered to go and feed homeless people and I went and experienced heaven on earth as I served God's children.
I pled for God's forgiveness for the attitude that I had had against the struggling mother in the ghetto. I went back to visit her and felt so happy, joyous and free. I gave her clothing for herself and her children and I stayed and visited with her for a while.
I feel convicted about my racial insensitivity, and I am beginning to take people's complaints of racism more seriously.
I realize that, even though police brutality has not affected anyone that I know personally, it does affect people and I should not be indifferent about it. I contemplate unconditional love for others and I choose not to be obsessed with what people must do right now in order to fit the status quo so that they can have fewer people bothering them and so that they can gain lots of fake friends.
I saw that I loved myself more than I loved the wealthy people in my social circles. I have surrendered to God and decided that I am going to stop comparing myself with them, and that I am going to love them with the love that God wants me to love them with.
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-Chapter-4/#30
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." Ephesians 5:1-2 (KJV) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-Chapter-5/
Jesus shared a convicting parable that really shows us what we will be like when we truly love Him. Matthew 25:31-46 https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-25/ I encourage you to read it when you get the chance.
Do you really love Jesus? If you don't, or if you love yourself more than you love Him, don't despair. Come to Him as you are in humble repentance. He will not reject you and He will most definitely forgive you and begin in you a beautiful work of transformation.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37 (KJV) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-6-37/
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (KJV) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-John-Chapter-1/
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ..." Philippians 1:6 (KJV) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Philippians-1-6/
Photo credit: Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-image-of-person-praying-1615776/
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