A few days ago, as I walked into Walmart a man at the door approached me. “I am homeless,” he said, “would you have a bit of change for me?”
“Yes, of course,” I said, “come with me.” As we walked back to the car, I said, “I love God and God loves people, so therefore I love people and love to help someone when I can.” I reached into a small bin below the dash and filled both hands with coins that I had been accumulating for just such an opportunity as this. When he held the pile of coins in his hands, he looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, “Thank you, God bless you.”
“May God bless you too,” I said.
A Statement of Love and Acceptance
I have used that line, “I love God and God loves people, so therefore I love people and like to help when I can,” many times in all sorts of circumstances; from simply holding the door for someone carrying a bag or a baby, to stopping behind a car that had suffered a deer strike, and spending a messy twenty minutes pulling the dead animal back out through the windshield and extricating the passengers from the wreckage. And even when being courteous in traffic, motioning silently to another driver, I mentally repeat that line.
I wish I could tell you that I never act selfishly or get upset at other people. Just ask anyone who knows me well, like my wife and family. I often fail in my walk of love. We are human and Satan and his demons are the source of hate against God, and he looks for ways to destroy us who are God’s children. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8) That is why in my morning prayer time I often pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt. 6:13)
A few hours after the Walmart encounter, in one ten-minute television news segment, I saw and heard people with faces distorted by rage and mouths pouring out a rant of hate against those responsible for implementing an—at that time—politically correct method for integrating indigenous school children into Canadian culture. Others expressed deep disgust at the concept of June being the Rainbow month celebrating gender diversity. I heard a report of a twenty-year old driver, presumably filled with hate, who rammed his truck into a family of five Muslims walking peacefully on the sidewalk, killing four, making one orphan, and himself into a murderer.
God’s Opinion of Love and Hate
Hate is the opposite of love. Hate comes from Satan: love comes from God. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
Love is the central concept of God’s two greatest commands. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and love your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27).
Love is the identifying characteristic of followers of Jesus. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Application of Love
It is relatively easy to love other followers of Jesus. What is not as easy is loving those who hate us, curse us, and do nasty things against us—from something benign like cutting us off in traffic, to treating us who are Jesus-followers as utterly self deluded and a hindrance to social progress. Which of us have not yielded to the temptation of speaking disparagingly of anti-God political parties? Yet, Jesus also commanded his followers to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:43-44).
May the God who loves us, help us to consistently love others—all the people He brings into our lives, including those who are still led by the evil one.