This is the last in a short series of learning how to love as Jesus loves. We know that we can literally learn to love as Jesus did, because He commanded us to do so at the Last Supper: John 13:34-35. We can look back at all of the New Testament which followed this Command, and see clearly how to love as He has loved, but most of us have chosen an easier and more comfortable path of shallow love and routine righteousness to satisfy our Christian walk. And in the process, missing everything Jesus came to accomplish through us.
Let's look at the next thing many of us are getting wrong, that is center-stage to our Jesus. Stop and think about something a moment. Consider that three of the most horrific disregards for human life in all of history have occurred within 80 years of this day: 1) Adolf Hitler (In power from 1934-1945) treated millions of Jews and many others, literally as sub-human in the Holocaust: as they were tortured, starved, worked to death. They were systematically, ruthlessly murdered by the millions, then burned like common trash, or piled in mass graves until the ground became swamp with their leaking body fluids, all in an attempt to literally annihilate them from existence. (17 to 20 million people were tortured and murdered) 2) Joseph Stalin (In power from 1941-1953) boosted the Russian Gulag System (horribly brutal prison-work system) in his day to boost the industrialization of the Soviet Union, and as a part of his, "Great Purge" to eliminate all who opposed him: starvation, torture, rape, overwork, freezing conditions, and regular violent beatings killed millions (minimum of 20 million died under Stalin, with many estimates drastically higher). 3) Mao Zedong (In power from 1943-1976) who, in his campaign called, "The Great Leap Forward", while trying to catch up with the western economy: starved, tortured and worked to death over 45 million people. Parents were forced to bury their own children alive, people were burned alive, had noses and ears cut off, branded, and forced to work completely naked in the middle of winter. Hundreds of thousands were completely banned from receiving any food at all because they were too old or sick to work—so they were systematically starved to death on the streets. How on earth could we possibly see so little worth in the life of another individual? All within a generation of today, and our educational and cultural influences today, are instilling less and less value in the worth of a human life every day in this country. I came across these words being used by atheist Richard Dawkins in a chat room arguing about the meaningless of life: this view is fast becoming the mainstream of the masses today. This is a major foundation for our society in its surge of homicide, suicide, rape, and depression; just as it was a major foundation for these atheistic dictators to treat millions upon millions of precious souls as garbage. Our world is completely subject to, and victimized by, the learned notion that we are useless, meaningless, and worthless. We as Christians, in our self-first mentality adopted from the world around us, have also been affected by this thinking. Many of us have lost an incredible sense of worth for the people around us as well, often seeing people with the same absolute indifference as everyone else, and often placing our own scale of worth on each individual, consciously and subconsciously based upon: Looks, fitness, ability, education, intelligence. Or as Christians, we sometimes base the worth of people around us on character traits we consider immoral such as lazy, mean, abusive, lustful, self-serving, conceited, trashy—seeing those who have hurt us, and those who are ungodly, and those who are "trouble"—as lesser in our eyes—somehow no longer worth the same trouble or concern.
Our complete lack of love for others, and our complete lack of love or respect for self often stems from being completely blind to the incredible worth of a single soul.
The third thing I felt Jesus showed to me while lying in the hospital at Cleveland, after finally accepting and being aware that God was with me; after making me too incapacitated to think about anything in my life; God just had me watching people intently—all walks of life, all nationalities, all religions—and He simply began to show me their importance to Him; their incredible, individual, amazing worth to Him. If we could see the real worth of a soul, beyond our shallow, simple, selfishly placed attributes on each person, maybe we could begin to "Love as Jesus loved": Mark 8:36-37. This verse alone lets us know that God places the worth of one single soul above the entire created world.
Here is why you, and I, and every person whom we feel is the least in the world is priceless to God. 1) One single person happens to be the single most complex creation in the known Universe, from one end to the other, in all of this unfathomable stretch of Universe that we can actually see and grasp: Point: nothing can come remotely close to the complexity, creativity, and unbelievable function of the human body and mind. Think about this: the most complex creation in the known Universe, is way too simple to understand its own construction—but we are supposed to be an accident. The entire collective Universe doesn't have the ability to equal, much less create the complexity between your ears. Not only does this scream that God is our Creator, but this fact alone, shows the unimaginable worth of every single person that has ever existed, over any other created thing. 2) When you look at an amazing painting, or a beautiful piece of pottery, or a towering building—is it the painting, the pottery, the building—that are actually what is so awesome? The awesomeness of any creation, is actually a reflection of the awesome creator: Genesis 1:27: Point: Every soul on earth was created, "In the image of God." Mentally, morally, socially, and spiritually we all have attributes in which no other living creature may compete that are pieces of the God of the Universe—purposefully, carefully placed there to make us unique, and able to relate to and love our Creator like no other part of creation. 3) When a sculptor begins his work with a block of wood, marble, or stone; when a potter begins with a piece of clay; when the world sees nothing, the Creator has already seen the unimaginable potential within the object they are working with. Isaiah 64:8. Not one person who has ever existed, or will exist, ever, will be like you, or will have the potential that you alone have. Point: Every soul, no matter how debased by Satan and sin; no matter how tainted by pain, anger, unforgiveness, or disease, has been uniquely created like no one else on earth, with a purpose and potential that no one else has on earth. The lowliest person you meet, has within them the most unbelievable potential from God. God sees that potential, and adores it, longs to see it come to fruition—don’t forget that when you disregard them, overlook them, think less of them than self. Realize this: they are one of the most complex creatures in existence, with more potential than anything in the Universe that has been defiled, beaten down, and lost in the lies of Satan. 4) Where do you live? Will it always be there? What do you drive? Will you always have it? What is your vocation? Will you be doing it in one hundred years? What hobby do you love? Will you one day not be able to continue it? Nothing, no matter how expensive, or fun, or important to you now, will last forever. It is all in passing—therefore all worthless. Point: But do you realize? Every soul that you meet; every person you write off or ignore; every person you decide is not worthy because they did something to you, will last longer than the stars in the sky? The planets, the rocks, the sun, the moon, the oceans? 1 Corinthians 15:53. How precious is a soul that will be here when everything that is around you is long since gone and forgotten? How priceless is something that is eternal? And yet we place way more worth on dumb things of no value, that will be here for a fraction of a moment, and be forgotten for an eternity, while destroying something that will feel the repercussions for eternity. The very fact that every soul is eternal also means that every soul we meet, including our own, has the unimaginable potential for gain, and for experiences we can't fathom, and for feelings, sensations, tastes, sights, sounds, and love like we've never known. 1 Corinthians 2:9. And every soul has an equal potential for unimaginable loss: Matthew 13:49-50. A potential loss of love, fellowship, and belonging with their loved ones and God, that cannot be measured or experienced by any other creature; loss of eternity of experiences and joy they were created to share with their Lord God; loss of ever being accepted or needed again—what immeasurable worth is there in a soul that has that much to lose or gain? 5) Have you ever sold or bought a house? The appraisal price of any house is set, based upon considerations such as location, age, upkeep, furnishings included, appliances, etc. But regardless of all of these potential price-changing factors, the ultimate, real, final price is decided simply by what someone is willing to pay for it. What worth the potential owner places on it. Point: Whatever you think of someone else, for whatever reason you have decided their worth, or worthlessness, their real worth was established by what Someone was willing to pay for them: 1 Peter 1:18-19. God alone knows the potential, the treasure, the fellowship He could have with every person we meet. How can we, with the little bit of knowledge we have, seeing only a part of another, which is marred by sin and pain, make decision about their worth to God? Romans 14:4, 10-13.
Now closely and deeply connected to this Truth of seeing the real worth of those around us, is this last Truth that I feel God showed to me while in the hospital, I met patients, doctors, nurses, PCA's, cooks, housekeepers, and I had no life and nothing but time, so I genuinely listened to them talk about their lives often with real interest. I learned afresh that everyone has an incredible, intimate, important story; has pain, confusion, insecurities, rejection; has, as the deepest of all needs, the desire to be accepted, needed and loved. When we aren't focused on ourselves, and God can show us these needs clearly, it opens a world of ministry opportunities. Many times, the most important ministry you can have is simply showing someone their worth and importance to you first. Just showing them you genuinely care; that they genuinely are important to you, then they can see where that love comes from. We made a number of visits to patients, and nurses around the hospital with gifts, coffee, and hugs, with the sole purpose of showing they were loved and we spent time with others in counsel and serious prayer about their situations. And we tried to make every event we could make when back at the Transplant House, to meet as many hurting and scared people as possible. Which, the Transplant House is a perfect picture of our world around us—everyone has a wound that is healing. Each opportunity we had to love on, or help someone was guided, not by a planned ministry guide, but simply by a desire to meet real needs as they were revealed, as we learned them through genuine interest in the personal lives of people. Loving people as Jesus loves them does not start with formal ministry, but with a heartfelt love that makes you want to know peoples hurts, desires, insecurities, and fears, with a heartfelt desire to just make people feel accepted and loved, and then being bold enough in Christ, to reach out and know Jesus will meet those needs through you. Do you realize that most of Jesus' personal ministry to others happened along the way? As He met broken and hurting people, and in genuine love and interest, met them where their needs were.
Know He is with you and for you. Let Him love through you in confidence. Truly let thoughts and concerns for self go, and be completely passionate for what God is saying, and for how He wants to use you. Look at each and every person with the worth that God has given to them, not the worth you place on them. Understand that everyone is broken and hurting. Everyone has a story. Everyone is in need of love and acceptance. And that your ministry always starts with the person in front of you. The world is literally dying to feel the real love of Jesus Christ, not a powerful sermon, a set of rules, or a beating eyebrow. Let's show them. Let God love through you.
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