Loving the “Unlovable”

I am saddened by those who love only the people they deem worthy of their love.  We are to love everyone.  That doesn’t mean we have to share their belief system.  It means we are to accept others with the love of God, which is unconditional.  I see people who reject others because of their way of life, their beliefs, their social status, or even their appearance and I am reminded that the ministry of Jesus was quite the opposite of today’s “norm.”  God tells us to love even the “unlovable.”  (Unlovable means not attracting or deserving of love.)  But is there really a person who is unlovable?

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:9-10

The Samaritan woman knew that the Jews didn’t have dealings with her race and she was amazed that Jesus would even speak to her.  Jesus offered himself, the living water.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13

The Pharisees (those who instructed Mosaic law) called the tax collectors ‘scum’ and questioned why Jesus would associate with them.  But Jesus recognized their need for being loved the same as anyone else.

When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them…

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.Luke 7:37-38 & 44

The woman who washed Jesus feet was known to be a sinner; she recognized that he would love her and accept her.  She wasn’t turned away by Jesus based on her reputation.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Yes, we are to love God with all our heart, but we are to love others as much as we love ourselves.

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” Matthew 5:43-47

Here, Jesus emphasizes loving those who don’t love us.  Loving our friends is easy, but loving others is an act of showing true love… the love Jesus bestowed on others.

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 2 Corinthians 5:14-16

When we see others from the eyes of Christ, we have put away our old nature of condemnation.  We will have a new perspective and a new point of view when we allow Christ to live through us.  These are a few but poignant examples of Christ Jesus loving everyone no matter their race, their appearance, their lifestyle, their beliefs, their social status, or even their sins.  We are to love the dirty, the impoverished, the ignorant, the scorned, the shunned, the sinner.  When we love others, no matter of man-made perceived barriers, then we will love the “unlovable.”

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free lance photographer, jewelry designer, writer, gardener, & seamstress

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