Thursday, October 25, 2012

Loving the Unlovely

I was reeling.
I remember it like yesterday.
Only a week had passed since that early morning I was in the bed with my mom, holding her as she took her last breath.  The tip of her nose turned white...
then the white line moved down her nose to encompass her whole face.
And somewhere I heard wailing.
Primal wailing.
Then I realized it was me.

And there I was a week later, surrounded by people celebrating someone's momentous life occasion.
Feeling disoriented by the joy around me.
I quietly stole off to the bedroom, crumpled to the floor and cried out to God.
'how dare you.
how dare you ask me to love these people when I'm hurting so badly.
You're asking too much.
I have nothing left.
I hurt.
I hurt so bad I don't know how to breathe.
I have nothing.
except pain.
that these folks are celebrating offends me.
it hurts, God it just hurts. '

And in the quiet of my heart I heard, 'loving the unlovely doesn't mean just loving people who stink.'
In just that moment understanding came.
We will always be called to love those that offend us.
It could be smell, sheesh, that's the easy one, right?
It could be anything that rubs us the wrong way....something that gets up our nose.
How they laugh too loudly, or dress to weirdly or maybe it's all the tattoos or piercings.
Maybe they talk all the time or never at all, so you never know what they're thinking.
Or maybe they process life negatively.  You know, those folks that don't have much positive to say.
The Anti-Pollyanna, if you will.

I was surrounded by people who were fabulous people, really.  And the celebration was important to celebrate.
What I learned that day was to never draw the line on what I won't love because Jesus never does.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Filled, surrounded by His peace, I wiped my face, blew my nose and went on to join the party.
Who are you missing out on loving today because they're not packaged as would make you comfortable?
If we are not well content with our weakness, how will we ever experience the power of Christ dwelling in us?
Make the choice to set that aside and just jump in to the loving and see what a beautiful thing God will do.

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