I spent a few hours this morning out in the streets of Columbus. I was with a group of friends trying to love on some people, pray for them and share the Gospel of Jesus.
I realized something: loving people who aren’t like you is hard. It’s especially hard to love people who aren’t like you outside of your comfort zone. I was experiencing a little bit of both this morning.
This wasn’t a first-time realization necessarily, because I’m around people who aren’t “like me” all the time. But purposely trying to extend a hand of mercy and love to people who are very different than me and whom I have a tough time trying to relate my life situation to is hard, tiring, and sometimes discouraging.
With that said, and even though it’s difficult and tiring and this morning was okay, I felt my heart beat a little harder. I felt my heart grow a little bit.
It wasn’t much, but it was something.
Jesus said that all the law and the prophets hang on this one thing, to love God and love people. That’s it. That’s why He came. Jesus came to us because of His love.
I’m beginning to understand that it’s not all about the hype and the acknowledgment and the affirmation. It’s not a whole about me, really. It’s about real life and real people who need love, and a God who is willing to give it to them.
I want to love people like He does.
There are a lot of people in pain out there. I’m trying not to ignore it so much, and to actually see those people, not look past them. It’s hard to do that, to see the pain and the doubt and the fear and yet not lose sight of Jesus.
If we really look, we can see Jesus in the midst of all of it. We can see Him hopeful, not hopeless. We can see Him delighting over people, not ridiculing them. And if we take enough time, and if we ask God to mold our hearts to look more like His, we’ll begin to feel His heartbeat a little harder in our chests, and our love for people will grow.
But we have to ask God, and we have to be willing to step out and meet people where they are.
I think that’s how it works.