For God so loved the world…
But yesterday as I was talking to some new friends, God was downloading greater revelation on this basic truth.
I love Gospel Music (Black Gospel music not southern gospel). It is my favorite genre of music. There are some songs like, “I’m Not Forgotten” by Israel Houghton that I could listen to everyday and not grow weary of it. There are other Gospel songs that I have to be in the right mood to listen. Other gospel songs, I’m not a fan of at all. But if asked, I would say, “l love Gospel music in general.”
And perhaps that is how we have viewed the truth: God so loved the world. Yes, He loves the world in “general.” He loves…Christians. He loves… law abiding citizens. He loves…evangelicals. He loves…Republicans.
Just like I don’t love ALL Gospel music, just most of it, God loves most of the world not all of it. (We would never say this…but we act as if this true.)
But when Jesus said, God loves the world, He meant every single person in this world. Every single person was created in the image of God and God is pursuing every person to come back to him. Every person.
God loves each person individually. I imagine if an angel named any random person on the planet and asked God to describe him, God’s eyes would light up as he described traits and beauty perhaps only visible to God at this moment.
When I go back to work and am presented with the obnoxious kid, I need to treat that kid as someone who God loves.
When I listen to the news and hear stories about illegal immigrants, I need to remember, “those immigrants are loved by God.”
When I hear about political leaders make disparaging remarks, I need to think, “that leader is loved by God.”
When a celebrity is caught in the act of perversion, judgement should not be my first thought but, “That celebrity is loved by God.”
When a terrorist kills twenty people at an embassy, fear should not be the ruling emotion. But God loves that terrorist.
Armed with this revelation of God’s love, my response as a Christian, as an ambassador of Jesus (not as an officer of the law) is to love each person as God loves them. To pray for them. Bless them. Share the Gospel. Be a demonstration of God’s hands and feet. Show compassion.
How would my world change if everyone I encountered today, I treated and interacted with them as they were God’s best friend? What if I looked at every person today – the rude, the obnoxious, the person with a different political viewpoint, a different religion – and treated them as someone who God loved? Let’s try it and see what happens.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV