I don’t love people.
I mean, I know Jesus tells me to love my neighbor and I DO. I mean my neighbor on the one side is a guy who keeps his lawn mowed and even helps shovel my driveway in the winter. The other side, is a church and most of the time its empty. So, that was easy.
What? My neighbor means EVERYONE? Uh, that’s a little ridiculous. I mean, there are a lot of idiots out there. And you’re telling me I have to love them?
I prefer to love people who treat me well. Or in the very least, can be titled a “good person”. It’s easy to love people who we deem lovable.
But then there’s the not so lovable people.
Like the guy who rejected me because I wasn’t a size 6 (Or because I had opinions. Possibly a mix of both). Or the person who has corrected my grammar on FB about 5 different times now (Seriously, I’m not writing a novel, people). Or the person who’s been nasty to my bestie (don’t mess with my BFF). Or the person who sped up in the slow lane so I couldn’t pass them on the highway (HELLLLLOOOOO! I’m trying to pass you!) Or the person who looked at me sideways in the grocery story (Do I have something on my FACE?!).
By now, you must think I’m just a miserable, nasty person. Maybe that’s true, or maybe I’m just being honest.
I want to love people. I’m just honest about the struggle. Most days I don’t love people. I’ve spent most of my life hand selecting those I’ll love and those I won’t. It’s an arduous process for sure, but it seemed necessary. In doing so, I put a ticket booth at the gate of my heart.
“Got a ticket?”
“Nope.” Hands showing empty pockets.
“Sorry, Charlie. Move along.”
The issue then becomes, not that I’m not loving certain people, but that I’ve taken on the job as ticket collector. I’m the one calling the shots. There’s a better way. And, dare I say, MORE fun.
When I let Jesus run the ticket booth, I’ve got more time for the Merry-Go-Round and the fried Oreos (Try them once before you die). I’m no longer deciding who gets in, but enjoying those who get to join me on the adventure. Sure, there’ll be an idiot along the way, yelling and holding a sign that reads “God hates fags”. But maybe, just MAYBE, Jesus let him in too so he could see there’s more to life than hate and sign waving. Maybe it’ll take me loving him that will convince him to put his sign down. Probably not, but what if that’s all it took.
Love invites. It’s not saying I approve of your actions, but I love you despite them. That’s what’s so striking about Jesus. He loves flawed, ignorant, selfish people and it’s that kind of love that changes hearts. You’ll never overcome hate with more hate.
“The way we love each other is still the best proof that Jesus is alive. Who we are says a lot about who He is.” Bob Goff