Observe how Christ loved us. Love like that. — Ephesians 5:2
Have you ever felt left out? Excluded? I know I have and it’s painful.
Nothing reaches so deeply into the human personality, tugs so tightly, as being included. We long to belong. Jesus understood this deep and powerful need like nobody else. It’s why He was intentionally and profoundly and often shockingly approachable. In fact,
Jesus was the most approachable person that ever lived.
Jesus was tuned into outcasts, people on the fringes — those who were the most likely to feel left out or excluded. The Gospels are abundantly clear: Jesus was shockingly accessible to anyone who felt undesirable or unwanted — Lepers, Gentiles, tax collectors, the poor and persecuted, pagans and sinners. He wasn’t like other “holy men” in Judea. His fellow rabbis operated on the principles of exclusion and isolation. Seeing how imminently approachable Jesus was made them not just perplexed, but indignant.
Perhaps it was because Jesus knew so much rejection in His own life. After all His life was defined by rejection. His neighbors laughed at Him, His family questioned His sanity, His closest friends betrayed Him, and His countrymen eventually tried Him as a revolutionary. Maybe that’s why Jesus was so inclusive of those who were also rejected, the riffraff fringe who were rarely included by others. Or maybe it’s because Jesus, the God-man, simply had immeasurable understanding and insight into our longing for belonging.
Whatever the reason, make no mistake: Jesus went out of His way to embrace the unloved and unworthy. He went out of His way to be approachable to everyone.
If you want to love like that you can’t size a person up. You can’t first determine if they are deserving. You can’t assess whether they meet your standards before you show them love. You have to be approachable – to everyone. Here’s the hard truth:
If you want to love like Jesus, you can’t be exclusive.
But how? In part, it comes down to pride. Pride is the poison of love. And humility is the antidote. Humility shines a light on the dark corners of our hearts, exposing our self-centered places and extinguishing impulses of egoism and superiority. Jesus underscored this Himself when He said that He came
not to be served, but to serve. — Mark 10:45
The apostle Paul added to this focus when he wrote,
Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well. — Philippians 1:4
When we love like that, feelings of superiority fade and our days are punctuated with spontaneous breathings of compassion, generosity of spirit, and kindness. We become approachable to anyone who feels left out or unwanted. When we love like Jesus, we love without exclusion – we even love our enemies.
Original editorial by Dr. Les Parrott written for Faith.Full.
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Do you feel left out, alone, rejected, excluded? Jesus is with you! He loves you more than you can possibly imagine! And from that place of being loved, we can love others as He does. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full