I read two scripture passages today that tilted my world. I admit that I've struggled all my life to love people as warmly as I'd like to. Seems when the cuddle-bug made its rounds, it forgot to bite me. It's not that I dislike people. There are just lots of times when this introvert feels like I can "take" or "leave" them. (Hardly imitating the biblical model of Jesus!)
"'Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?'
Jesus replied, '"You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: "Love your neighbor as yourself." The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'" (Matthew 22:36–40)
"Wait a minute," I think to myself. "It is as important to love people as it is to love God?" Yikes.
Meeting with his disciples shortly before his death, Jesus gave strict orders: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
How on earth can one love others as deeply and sincerely as Jesus loves us? The secret must lie in our utter abandonment to God's love. Knowing how precious we are in his eyes, that each person is made in God's image (Genesis 9:6), gives each human value beyond comprehension.
It's easy to spend time on something that we think is valuable. People take hours to gaze at museum exhibits, nurture hobbies, and admire jewels, fine art, and collector's items.
How much more should we esteem those with infinite value, who have been purchased with the blood of a Lamb without spot or blemish?