Love and hate

I like some people and dislike others.

Most people would excuse me for disliking some people.  They would say, “That’s normal.”

But not God.  He calls me to love everyone because he created them all.

Sometimes I try to justify my feelings of dislike towards someone.  I tell myself it isn’t hate.  I simply find some things about him that bother me.  Or, he fails to measure up to a certain standard I have set.  Or, he’s too different.  Or, I see him as a competitor.  Or, he hurt me.

Yet in my more honest moments, I know that I’m deluding myself.  Dislike is only a lighter shade of hate.

Jim Cymbala, author and pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church in New York City, touched on this lightly in a talk he gave to pastors and prayer leaders at his church just over a week ago.

He told the pastors: “Be faithful in presenting the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit in the atmosphere of love.”

He was urging pastors to love from the heart, something that can only come from the filling of the Spirit.

This reminded me of a story Pastor Cymbala shared on another occasion.  He said he had just finished an exhausting Easter service years ago and was sitting on the edge of the platform when he saw a homeless man sitting and looking at him.

The man came forward towards him and he had an overpowering smell.  Cymbala thought he wanted money and reached for his wallet to give him something.  He felt drained and just wanted the man to go.

But the homeless man saw what he was doing and told Cymbala he didn’t want his money.  He wanted Jesus – he was desperate for God’s help.

Cymbala wept before this man, realizing all his sermon points meant nothing when confronted by a man in need. The homeless man wept too and they embraced each other.  And God gave Jim Cymbala a love for this man so that his bad smell became a sweet aroma.

The man gave his life to Christ, entered addiction therapy, and became an associate pastor of a church planted by the Brooklyn Tabernacle.  The full story can be found here: http://dailysermonillustration.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/jim-cymbalas-easter-story/

The truth is, God loves me even though I fail him constantly.  That’s the kind of love he wants me to have for others.

I know I can’t love on my own.  I need the Holy Spirit’s help.

 

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2 comments so far

  1. Judy Starr on

    I look forward to reading your blogs, Bob. They are honest and meaningful. You write from your personal walk, about what many of us are thinking but maybe don’t have the courage…or humility….to say. Pastor Cymbala’s story is equally so, and both give me reason to examine my own behaviour. Thank you.


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