Read all of Proverbs 25, the focus of this devotion is on Proverbs 25:21-22.
Don’t you just love all the talk in the Bible about loving one another. I mean, WOW, God wants us to love each other. We get to have friends, and hang out. We love people on the same team, or who are the nice neighbor, and it is easy to love people who hook you up with Rams tickets or invite you over when they make the best barbecue. Of course, we can apply Jesus words when we were single, realizing that God especially wanted you to love that cute blonde, even going out of your way for her. We all work real hard to show love to best friends and those with whom we are close. It is even fun to obey the commands of Jesus with your best buds.
OK, so maybe I went a little overboard. But you know, Jesus did a lot of talking about loving people. More than once, Jesus said that if we want to be like Him, we would have to love others. The tough part is that Jesus called us to love those that are unlovable. And love is an action word. It means we have to do something.
A lot of us “love” our family, friends, people in our church. And we say, “I love everybody.” But do we really love our enemies. How about that person who consistently talks about you behind your back? What about the annoying person who gets on your last nerve? What happens when you are in a room with someone who is not as popular or maybe even has disabilities? Do we demonstrate our understanding of the words of Jesus when we interact with people with different political or moral views? Can we find it in our hearts to do acts of love to Cubs fans?
During the sermon on the Mount Jesus mirrors the thoughts in this Proverb as he explains that the Gospel will be shown in life as we love our enemies and care for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48). We love those who look like us, act like us, and love us back. But Jesus made it clear, even people who are far from God do that. It is when we as followers of Jesus love those who are impossible to love that the love of Christ shines through us. Now, I know what is going through your mind right now. “Alright, if I have to love them I will. There, I said it.” But remember, love is an action, not a statement.
Jesus quoted this Proverb which tells us to help our enemies in time of need, and to give our enemies food and water when they are hungry and thirsty. This requires action. Now, maybe your “enemies” don’t need a burger and a soda. Maybe what they really need is someone who truly cares for them, and is willing to forgive them and accept them. Maybe that person you have been fighting with for the past six months and has said hurtful things is doing so because they have a family problem. Who knows, but one thing is sure. God wants us to love those people in our lives. It is when we love those who hurt us, betray us, and fight us that we love like Jesus loved.
Jesus spent his ministry with twelve men. One of those men, Judas, betrayed Jesus, and handed him over to be executed. Another, Peter, denied Jesus three times and cursed Him. Jesus knew what it meant to love someone who was unlovable.
Take a moment to write the name of the most unlovable person you know. Make it a goal to do one act of love for that person this week.