Jesus died for us because He loves us; not because we loved Him and He felt we deserved it.
And we, too, should be able and willing to lay our lives down for the sake of not just fellow believers – but others as well.
When we persecuted Him, He called out to us, showed us His way, and loved us.
Yet somehow we feel the right to hate (which, according to Jesus, is murder), strongly dislike, and/or speak out against other people who God loves with everything.
If we dare to compare these two relationships, we will indeed find that we have been hopelessly insufficient in our ability to love people other than pew-sitters.
Have we indeed passionately prayed for and loved wicked, disagreeable, or not-so-popular people? This list includes Kim Jong Un, ISIS, and the present and past rulers of countries (think Obama or Trump).
Note: Please understand that I am not trying to get into politics here. In no way am I trying to insult you or the political party you identify yourself with.
This list is also inclusive of dead people, such as Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein.
Not only that, it includes groups, countries, or parties from now and long ago, like Nazi Germany, North Korea, or either side of any war, rather it be the American Civil War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any other.
No, we cannot intervene in dead people’s salvation or love them in any way possible, but we can make sure we are not holding any grudges or harboring hate against people that Jesus loves and died for specifically with them in mind.
It is so easy to hold a grudge against any group on this list, namely because our ancestors have often had a grudge against or fought in a war against these people. Or maybe just because we find a difference between us and them.
Here’s an example: My grandpa fought in the Korean War. I could assume some sort of hurt or grudge against North Korea now, but because Jesus loves the North Koreans and Kim Jong Un, I choose to love them, too. No, they don’t deserve it. But neither do I deserve God’s love, so we’re even.
Here’s another one: I’ve lived in Georgia for all of my life, with the exception of when we began our itinerant missions until now. As a result, all of schooling and culture teaches a more southern slant on life and history. And as a result of that, I could then hold a grudge or hurt against every Yankee living north of the Mason-Dixon line, even though they have never done anything against me.
Okay, how about a third: Being raised knowing Jesus in a western world, I could easily pick up some type of hatred against Muslims and radical ones that are killing my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. But the truth is, Jesus loves Muslims – even radical ones. In fact, He weeps for their souls and their salvation. It’s a useless cause to hate those Jesus loves, and He calls us to love them, too.
Another note: I’m not trying to brag or boast in anything other than Christ Jesus, so please don’t take this that way. I’m just attempting to show you that there are many opportunities to love and forgive in these lives of mine and yours, and using some personal examples to illustrate that fact.
Please examine your lives in light of Jesus’ words on this subject of loving those humans that people don’t care for. And remember that forgiveness is choice – not a feeling.