God met Abraham and Sarah in their dysfunction; God sent His prophet to confront David’s sin; He reached out to wrestle with Jacob – He loved Jacob enough to wrestle with him ; His son pulled a faith-failing Peter up from the ocean – he knew just the right moment to reach out; Jesus broke bread with sinners, talked intimately with sinners at the well – if He were here today, you would probably find him at the local Starbucks.
A church person once made a snarky comment about my supporting Starbucks. I had picked up one on the way to help at Vacation Bible School. Granted, Starbuck’s has been known to tweak Christian values. I just looked at her and said, “Some of my college students work there. Maybe by smiling and blessing them, I can plant a seed – or help one grow.” The church person snorted, not believing it for a second. I believed it with all my heart.
Then Jesus told the story of the prodigal son. Unconditional Love did not walk with the son when he left home. Unconditional Love did not stand beside him when he wasted his money. Nor was Unconditional Love with him as he ate with the swine. But, I bet Unconditional Love’s prayers were there, calling him home, praying that angels encamp about him and protect him, praying for a heart change. And, when the Prodigal Son turned homeward – His father met him where He was, embraced Him and walked with him the rest of the way, restoring him in great joy, probably all choked up with a flood of Unconditional Love Tears saved up and waiting to be spent, washing the dust from his son’s feet.
Unconditional Love loves like that. God loves like that.
” If his children refuse to do what I tell them, if they refuse to walk in the way I show them, 31 If they spit on the directions I give them and tear up the rules I post for them – I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music (The Message), but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness “(ESV) (Psalm 89: 30-33).
Are you withholding some love? Some relationship? Waiting for a person to get just to the right spot? Are you holding someone to a higher standard than the standard Jesus held for all the sinners He reached out to? That God reached out to?
I am not talking about enabling or being a door-mat or even putting yourself in a situation where you could be hurt, either physically or emotionally. I remember when one of my son’s was in the 7th grade – another student pulled a knife on him and said he was going to stab him in the back and kill him with it next week. The school told my son that he needed a witness with him at all times – in the bathroom, walking to soccer practice, going to lunch. We spent 5 more months totally frustrated. I could not invite the young man to our house at that point. I could have ranted and raved about how awful that young man was. Instead, my heart grieved for him. I prayed for him, like I would pray for my own sons. He needed someone to do that for him.
Are you praying? Seeing your people-challenges as God sees them? Hoping? Believing for a homecoming though you do not see one?
Are you trying to be so Unconditionally Loving that you would wash their dusty, dirty, swine-stained feet with your bare hands? Are you willing to meet that person where they are?
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)