For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)
Our world is so full of turmoil these days. Maybe it has always been that way, but it seems louder now. Social media has given all of us a megaphone. Everyone has an opinion about most anything and people seem to enjoy expressing themselves. We pick sides, only to find that the people whose side we thought we were on are picking sides within that group. There seems to be a never ending cycle of conflict in our world.
In the midst of all of the different voices, groups, and persuasions, we have to stop and remember that God loves those who differ with us just as much as He loves us. He loves the ____________(you fill in the blanks) just as much as He loves the _________________.
I recall hearing Michael W. Smith tell about his awakening to this truth at one of his concerts. In the early days when he also sang secular songs, he found himself at a venue where all around him people were intoxicated or high. Disturbed by the sight, he had gone outside to get away. Then, deep in his heart he heard God speak to him saying,—I love these people and I want you to love them too. That incident forever changed his perspective.
After pondering this, I noticed myself thinking differently about the people I came in contact with today. Instead of judging by their appearance or demeanor I instead thought, “God loves her so much.” or “I wonder if he knows how much God loves him.” I have to tell you, I received some very warm responses today. I didn’t really say anything any different than I usually would have, but I think they sensed my acceptance. We all respond more warmly when we feel accepted, don’t we?
I didn’t know their political or religious viewpoints. I didn’t know if their values were the same as mine. I didn’t need to know. All I really needed to know was that God loves them as much as He loves me.
If we would all slow down, stop judging, and start trying to understand each other a little better, maybe we would realize that we don’t have a monopoly on God’s love. He loves them just as much!