My dear friends, I have a question for you and I hope you can answer with your heart honestly…
If John the Baptist were here today and you looked at his behavior, his clothes and how he lived his life... would you accept him and be amazed by his life in the same way you do now when you read the Bible? Then how about Jesus, a man without a home, living in poverty and breaking the religious law? Would you judge them by what you see in the outward?
This is a question I have asked myself daily and one I also seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit to answer. Discernment to see the heart of man instead of only looking at their outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2, NIV)
When we choose to love and care for one another, do we first consider what we gain or what we might lose? Are we concerned we may miss an opportunity to serve an angel or even the Lord Himself, who may have come in human form? I want to remind you of what the Bible says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) We love because God first loves us (1 John 4:10) and we should love our Lord by loving one another and yet we miss the time to walk side by side, to prepare a meal or provide a bed, to have fellowship with Jesus when He was in a human form in the world. So what could be better than doing all of these things for our Lord by providing them to those who are in need? Remember, we are not called to love only those who love us or greet only those who we count as our own people (Matthew 5:46-48).
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV)
Who is our enemy? The truth is that the person who you determine who they are. Who is the one you do not want to get closer with? This is also our decision. We often make this determination and decision based on our preference, our feeling, our understanding and our judgement. I know because I made my choice before just as many have. A choice based on fear of being hurt, concern we are being taken advantage of, or that old wounds would be cut open again. Above all these, I remember the Lord has not called us to stop loving one another. Does He care if we may be harmed and put in danger? He does but do we trust in Him and believe that He can protect us when we do as His commanded us? Don’t we believe He has a plan for us and that includes those who we engage with, just like Joseph (Genesis 39-47)?
The Lord understands our hesitation, the fear of differences, the uncertainty and the mistakes we may make. That’s why the scripture tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)
I chose not to be afraid, but to seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit, so I can love like Jesus. As the word of God tells us through the Apostle Paul, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18, NIV)