But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
Love in this world is so fickle and conditional.
We experience love with strings attached.
If we behave a certain way, we will receive kindness and love in return. That is how this world works. If we are born into a certain situation, if we lack social finesse, if we have ever experienced a relationship where we were never good enough for the other person, we can understand this in a deep way.
In Kitgum, the disabled children, unfortunately, live in this reality. Seen as a curse upon their families, rejected by their communities, not given the chance to go to school, these kids have everything against them. Children that I have met, with beautiful smiles attached to bodies that didn’t work right, were thrown away and rejected by their families. Yet there they were, smiling. Maybe because they could somehow see the love of God through my touch and that of others, despite our shortcomings.
Maybe touching the “untouchable” and loving the “unlovable” is precisely why God has allowed us to stay on this planet for as long as we have.
God’s love is unconditional. As hard as that is for our minds to wrap around that truth because of our fallen state and our broken world, it is true nonetheless.
When we were totally unlovable, He died for us.
For those of us the world had written off, for those who were never good enough in the eyes of others, for the poor and lonely and depressed. It was for you that He came. It was for you that He died, even as you rejected Him. His love didn’t wait for us to be deserving (or let’s face it, He would still be waiting!!) He didn’t wait for us to seek after Him and recognize His worthiness. He just loved us. Every drop of His blood that spilled displayed this beautiful reality. He loved because He IS love. That is His nature.
No matter how you feel about yourself or the world around you today, He still loves you. His Love is what draws us out from our sin, changes our lives, and enables us to be new people.
As those who have experienced His love, we have the most exciting opportunity in the world to show unconditional love to others. Those who misuse us, those who hurt us, the greatest sinners and the hardest people to get along with: these are our mission field. Because of His love, we are able to love others. Because of His forgiveness toward us, we are able to forgive others. Because He took our place and endured our shame, we can love those who have put shame on us and hurt us deeply.
This does not mean that someone who is in an abusive situation should remain there. That would not be loving, not for yourself (for whom Jesus died), nor for the other person (because it would enable their sin.) It does mean, however, that you must forgive. You must let go of any hate and hurt, to enable you to be the conduit of love in this world that God has called you to be.
We can’t love like Jesus in our own strength. Our love, too, has strings attached. But when we recognize His great and unfailing and undeserved love in our lives, it should make us see our world in the right perspective.
I challenge you to read Matthew 18 for more on this. By His strength, we are able. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is Him that comes out when we are squeezed.
When we can’t do anything, God still Can. He loves, and He is love.