We’re really good at giving people compassion when they’ve earned it. “Oh wow, that’s a terrible story! Now I’ll show you love and kindness!” Why can’t we start there, as instructed by the One we say we follow? Why does someone need to give us a horrible story before we go, “Oh, now it makes sense why you are that way...“
– Dan Merchant, maker of Lord Save Us From Your Followers
I’ll admit that I still tend to stereotype people when I meet them for the first time. First impressions are sometimes hard to shake and it takes a deliberate effort to see past what is in front of my eyes to find the person underneath the physical features, different behaviours or habits or belief systems. To show love and kindness to ALL is a challenge because it goes against the ‘self-focus’ message of our society: Why should I care for them? They’ve done nothing for me, I don’t owe them courtesy or respect… they’ve got to earn it.
And what happens when we have shown love and kindness but get burnt in the process? Do we say, ‘Goodbye and good riddance!’ or do we still continue to show love and kindness?
On our own strength and will-power, the latter is impossible and seems absurd to the world. We feel a sense of justification to withhold our love and affection from people who, in our minds, don’t deserve it. But that’s where the God dimension comes into play except that in our case, no matter what we’ve tried to do to earn God’s love, we could never measure up. My efforts to live a good life would never get me to the stage where I could ‘deserve’ His love. All I can do is just come back to that realisation and then rejoice that He has shown me love and kindness regardless of how I’ve related to Him in the past, present or future.
So perhaps that’s the place to start. Love others the way God loves us. If a perfect God could love imperfect people, who are we to judge or hold back compassion and love from those that God loves as well.
Food for thought.