One of my aunts struggled with homosexuality. She suffered through a horrible divorce, lost her trust in men, and therefore, turned to women for comfort. Although the family did not discuss her sexual preference, it was certainly the big pink elephant that always sat in the corner of the room.
One day, she was visiting our home with her daughters. One of them got angry and disrespectfully shouted out toxic words to cause her mother pain. She followed with a series of name calling. My mother quickly intervened, “Don’t you dare talk to your mother that way. I don’t care what she is, that’s my sister!” The conversation was over.
Taking inventory of the scene, I learned a lot about love that day. Love is choosing not to reject someone for their failures, poor choices, and the fact that they have not lived up to our expectations. Love is stepping up to do what is right, have hard conversations, and stop abuse. Love is valuing a person for who they are and honoring your relationship. Love is a conscious choice to reject judgment, yet speak the truth. Love is unconditional.
That’s the kind of love displayed by Jesus, who made a habit of engaging those rejected by society. He always presented himself as the truth for a life of wholeness, healing, validation, and love.
Take a look at his interactions with…
The adulteress, Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42)
Mary of Bethany, who anointed him for his burial (Matthew 26:6-13)
The children whom the disciples rejected (Luke 18:15-17)
The demon-possessed man who Jesus healed (Luke 8:26-39)
One of the many things that I love about Jesus is that he has all power to change any situation. “What is impossible with men is possible with God (Luke 18:27).” Yet he is continuously rejected by those who oftentimes misunderstand his message and what he came to do. It is our responsibility to tell the world of broken, lost, and rejected individuals that Jesus makes all things new.
How often do you take the time to understand a person’s situation before judging them? How can we effectively speak the truth of the gospel’s message while maintaining relevance in today’s culture?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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