“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35 NLT).
The world has become more cynical, suspicious, and void of loving one another. We’re constantly doubting, trying to second guess people’s intentions, and putting up our walls. I believe that God wants us to love one another.
Most churches have stopped teaching people to love one another. For the most part, churches are filled with “recycled Christians.” The messages from the pulpits are mostly geared to sedate the congregation and keep them from leaving. The aggressive (not obnoxious) brand of Christianity has disappeared and we’re operating on the back foot defensive position. This may sustain us for a while but we cannot win games operating from our defensive position.
Yesterday I was shopping with a visiting pastor from India. I took him to a nice store to buy him some new clothes. While shopping, I came across a tall, dark, and handsome young man trying out a suit. He looked unsure of himself. He was alone so I told him that the jacket looked a bit too tight. He went and found another one. I was just chitchatting with him while shopping around. When I asked him what the occasion for the new jacket was, he said, “I’m getting married!” I was so happy for him and congratulated him.
When we were done shopping and were checking out, I felt impressed upon my heart to bless this young man by paying for his wedding suit. My first thought was, “Get behind me Satan!” Deep in my heart I knew that the enemy would never inspire me spend hundreds of dollars to help a stranger. Thankfully this time, I was sensitive enough to obey the Holy Spirit.
I called the young man, who by now had picked up a nice suit for his big day, to the counter. I asked, “What is your name?” He said, “Ibrahim.” He greeted me with a Muslim greeting and whispered, “I’m a Muslim.” I gave him a big hug and said, “That’s ok. I’m a follower of Jesus.” I said, “Listen, I want you to know that Jesus loves you and I love you. I’m so proud of you and the new life you’re about to start together with your beautiful girl!” He promptly pulled out his wallet to proudly show me the picture of his beautiful fiancé. I said, “Ibrahim, I love you brother. I’d like to buy you this suit for your special day.” He was shocked!
All he could say was, “I’m floored! I’m floored!” I said, “It’s no big deal I love you and Jesus has an amazing future for your family!” He choked up and had tears in his eyes. Before we left, I prayed for him right there in the middle of the store asking Jesus to come into Ibrahim’s heart. An hour later I got a text from Ibrahim saying, “I forgot to tell you the day I’m getting married is the day of my birthday turning 30 years old. What you did for me means a lot Mr. Anderson.” He invited me to his wedding to be a part of their celebration. Ibrahim is infected by God’s love and he will never be the same again. Would you please pray for Ibrahim?
Why am I telling you this story? You see, I believe God is always bringing people into our lives —lives that we can touch and win for our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are sensitive enough to recognize God’s purpose and love on people instead of criticizing them and pointing fingers at them, we’ll live in a whole new world.
Jesus demonstrated the art of loving people. He was the only perfect Man but He never condemned anyone. He simply loved on people and the power of God’s love did the rest. Remember the Samaritan women at the well (John 4)? Jesus knew all about her lifestyle but instead of condemning her, He gently circled her in with His love. As a result, not only did she accept the Messiah but she brought the whole town to Jesus! You too can do the same.
Christianity is at its best when it’s shared!
Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Friends, let us love people not only with our lip-service but through deeds as well. Don’t just be a consumer Christian. Let’s not go to church and warm the pews for decades. Let us get in the game and be on the offensive. If our lives are not producing fruits unto Jesus, we’ve lost our first love. Today, I’m encouraging us to tear down the walls. Let us love, trust, and believe in people. Reach out and start a dialog with your neighbor. Invite a co-worker to church. Pray with someone who is going through a rough patch. Be kind to a total stranger. When we love people, the Holy Spirit will draw them unto Jesus. I love you and I believe in you!
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