As we continue to look at God’s love for us, we are focusing on Romans 5:8, “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” This is something I think a lot of us have a hard time understanding or comprehending. We know how much we love our family or friends, but God’s love isn’t like human love; it goes far beyond anything we can even imagine.
I know for some, the thought that God would love us when we were mired down in sin, undesirable, and self-centered is hard to grasp. We were a mess before Jesus got hold of us, and yet He willingly gave up His life for us because of His great love! I don’t know too many people that would naturally say, “Yes, I’ll die for them.” We tend to gravitate toward people that are loving, those who may look like or act like us, those who have attributes that we find attractive and lovely. If we are honest with ourselves, we usually don’t befriend someone who may be from “the wrong side of the track”, or people who are struggling with issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or who are tattooed and pierced over 95% of their body…they don’t appeal to us. But God looks past all of that! He looks directly at the heart.
I know a gentleman, that if you looked at him at first glance, you’d think he was part of a biker gang like “Hell’s Angels”. He’s a rough lookin’ dude! But he is the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet. He came to our church for a while, and I know it took a little bit before some people in the congregation warmed up to him and really got to know him. He’d come to church on his big, old, Harley Hog, dressed in leathers, tattooed, and a long pony tail. He is a great big teddy bear of a guy! The teenagers loved him, and he was so sweet to everyone. He loves Jesus with all his heart and is part of the Christian Motorcyclist Association (CMA). He has since moved from the area and so I’ve not seen him in a long time. By first impression, most people would steer clear of him. But God saw something in him, and loved him unconditionally, and my friend accepted Jesus as his Savior, and he spread the news about Jesus to everyone he met.
God calls us to love like He does. We are to love those who we may deem unacceptable. Jesus reaches out to them with open arms, and we should also. His love for each of us is more than we can fathom. We don’t have to make ourselves acceptable in His sight, He loves us unconditionally. My friend didn’t have to get himself all cleaned up to come to Jesus. Jesus took him just as he was, loved him and saved him, and gave him to those in his circle of influence to reach for God. My friend would reach people I would never meet. He was put in a position to identify with a certain type of people and be an influence for God. Who knows how many people he’s led to the Lord!
So, as we think about God’s love for us, how deep and wide, how vast…remember that we are to love like He loves. Reach out to the unlovable, the unreachable, the outcast, and the downtrodden. Show God’s love to them, and thereby win them to Jesus.