In an interview with Mother Theresa, a reporter asked her how she found the strength and hope to work day after day in the middle of so much suffering. Mother Theresa replied, “One day a long time ago I went to nurse a woman with leprosy. Her body was covered with sores. So, I began the slow work of tending to the sores up and down her arms. And when I reached her hand, I saw a sore in the middle of her hand that looked like it went though. And I thought to myself, My Lord has holes in his hands. Then I prayed, ‘Lord, is this you?’”
I think we need to look closer, to search deeper, to reach further, and to wait with more patience for the appearance of God. He is truly all around us if we will simply stop for a moment and look. He is in the coworker that annoys us, the boss that misunderstands us, the friend that hurts us, and the family member that slanders us. He is in the stranger that frustrates us, the store clerk that angers us, the lawyer that lies to us, and the neighbor that missuses us. Can you see Him in their lives regardless of how they may have hurt you or done you wrong?
Matthew 25:34-40 says, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
It’s easy to love someone that loves you back, but can you offer that same love to those who are not quite so lovely? I believe that we CAN. So, maybe the better question to ask is, WILL you offer that same love to others in return? It’s a choice. I’m not saying it’s an easy choice, but it’s a choice all the same.
We should always be willing to extend a helping hand to those in need whether they choose to love us in return or not. I know it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s actually something that seems to go against everything within our being. But if you can humble yourself and choose to love as Yahweh loves, in spite of how someone else acts toward you, you will find a wave of peace that will come and will settle in your heart bringing a calm to your soul. You will actually begin to go through your day with a spring in your step rather then a scowl on your face. There’s something incredibly rewarding when you can put aside your own thoughts, perceptions and hurts, and simply love someone in spite of themselves.
When was the last time you hugged a homeless man or invited a co-worker to your home for dinner? When was the last time you asked a person that wasn’t in your close group of friends to have lunch with you or tolerated the person driving 55 in a 65 mph zone? When was the last time you offered to let someone go ahead of you in the grocery store check-out or congratulated a co-worker on receiving the promotion you wanted? Need I say more?
When you get alone before the Lord, do you ask Him to teach you to love others? I do, but I still fall short at times when He calls me to love the unlovely. To love the unlovely means that I might be judged and ridiculed by others; I might have to go without something I think I need; I might have to be inconvenienced; and I might have to humble myself.
We need to realize that all people, regardless of their age, class, race, background or education have value and worth. We need to understand that all people are important. If we are to be faithful to Yahweh in all things, then we will love people who have nothing to offer us in return. And we’ll love them because even they have the image of God in them.
Who is God asking you to touch? Who is He asking you to accept? Who is He asking you to value? Who is He asking you to love?