I saw a meme recently stating, “You only love God as much as the person you love least.”
Talk about a punch in the gut. I had to go off into a corner and ponder what I had read. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it is. I also realized the disparity between how much I want to love God and how much I really do.
It occurs to me that as someone who aims to live as Jesus did, part of that involves extending unconditional love to the people around me. But there’s an angle on this that’s easily overlooked.
One day Jesus was talking with a group of his closest followers. He told them, “Do you think you deserve credit for merely loving those who love you? Even the godless do that! And if you do good only to those who do you good—is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them!” (Luke 6.32-35)
If I say I have unconditional love for people but then withhold unconditional love from even one person, then I negate it for everyone. My love immediately becomes dependent on the other person’s behavior and I no longer love as Jesus desires me to love. If I only treat well the people I think deserve to be treated well, I’ve now violated the way Jesus wants me to treat others.
It occurs to me that if I have to ask myself whether or not I’m really treating someone the way they deserve to be treated, the way Jesus expects me to treat them, then I probably have my answer.
Think of someone that gets under your skin more than anyone else you know. Now go back and insert that person’s name into Jesus’ words:
“Love __________! Do good to __________!”