Day 23: Where We Are

Read: 1 John 3:11-18

My most formative years were spent without a real father figure in the home. Sure, there were good men in my life, but none close enough to mentor me the way a father would. I’ve always had a bit of fear that one day I’ll grow up and make the same mistakes my dad did. The day that happens, though I pray it never does, I would want my son to forgive me.

My dad and I have since been reunited through social media. I made the choice to reconnect with him instead of disregarding him, but soon found out he had not changed. He still had a hard time relating with others in a meaningful way. He was a bit arrogant, thinking himself to be innocent of any wrong. I realized that any attempt at a relationship was going to be difficult. I had the choice of either waiting for him to learn better relationship skills or trying to press on into a relationship anyway.

I feel like I’m a pretty decent guy, although I can be a bit arrogant, thinking myself to be innocent of any wrong. I don’t have any children, but I still wonder how much like my dad I’ll end up being. Even worse than this is the state in which Jesus finds us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God loved us first. He didn’t choose to love us because of where we will end up, but loves us right where we are. In fact, He is the way in which we know love at all (1 John 3:16). Just like God’s love for us came before our faith in Him, we should love others where they are at too. Before my dad expressed any repentance, I leaned on the example of Jesus’s love towards me and forgave him.

We shouldn’t get caught up thinking that only emotional needs require care though. Someone once told me, “You can’t preach to an empty stomach.” This is why Jesus would feed the crowds He preached to; it is why His message was accompanied by healings. When a person is physically hurting, it can be hard to hear above the noise of the pain. 1 John 3:17 says that we ought to share our worldly goods with those among us who are less fortunate. When tangible needs are met, the message of love can often be better heard. Indeed, we ought to love others where they are at, regardless of what that looks like.

How can we put parameters on when to love those around us when Jesus Himself did not place those boundaries on His love for us? We opposed God before believing in Him, yet we can confidently say that God already loved us, even to the point of laying down his life for us. He loves you wherever you are right now, and because of what He has done, we can do the same!

Have you avoided loving someone because you weren’t willing to meet them where they were at? Take the initiative today. Spare the time. Buy a meal. Share the good news. Give what you can afford.

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