Growing up in church, I was always taught to love others. We were instructed in Sunday school through stories modeled with felt characters on a felt board that Jesus loved and loves everyone and we should do the same. Society however, has a different opinion. You love people until it is no longer beneficial to you or until you just don't want to anymore. Because, hey, love is just a feeling right?
Awhile back Gods position and the world's position on love collided in my own life.
I found that when I was at church I was good at loving people. I don't just mean normal people I mean the outcast - the night club worker, the drug attic, the alcoholic, the absent parent. The people that society tends to look down on. I found it easy to love them because their lives weren't all that intertwined with my own. I felt compassion for their situation knowing that there was normally a lot of pain and often a tragic story that had brought them to this place in their life. This wasn't just the case in church, but in general. My heart breaks for the outcast and I find myself saying a quick prayer when I encounter them.
I also was a school teacher. I was a teacher in an area with a good amount of need. I had the students of the night club worker, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the neglectful parent, and the incarcerated parent. Loving them wasn't just hard but down right impossible for me. I lost sight of what brought them to this downward spiral and all I could see was the horribly negative impact it was having on their children. Now their lifestyle was affecting my life. My students were my kids.
The same type of people I had compassion for every other time now had me harboring anger and resentment towards them. I didn't understand how they could do this to their child. I mean, could they not see what it was doing to their family?
I remember being so fed up one night with it all I just asked God with anger and bitterness in my heart "God, where do I draw the line?" I wanted to know where I drew the line of loving them and rightfully being bitter towards them because of what I saw in their kids. I remember as clear as day God whispering into my heart: "I didn't ask you to draw a line."
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt justified for my negative feelings towards them because I saw the way it affected others. God doesn't see them as the dead beat dad, prostiturte, or heroine addict. He sees them as Mark, Julie, and Rebecca. The very names that were on Jesus lips as he died on a cross. He loves them dearly, so why don't I?
I realized regardless what people are going through, regardless the mess they are in or are creating, chances are they already know all that and hear it enough. What they aren't hearing enough is someone who loves them. What they aren't expecting is someone who promises to love them even if they never change anything about their lives. They need a love like Jesus' and that's the way we are meant to show them love. No string attached.
God never asked us to draw the line.