Unconditional Love

There was a revelation I had this week, an epiphany, a breakthrough in my understanding of Christ. Let me begin with this: when I went through my divorce, I often struggled with loving someone who had hurt me so much. Someone who had broken my heart and betrayed me—someone who could not look past all of my faults—and obviously my sins against her were too great to look past, so the result was her leaving me. My divorce was one of the greatest heartaches of my life, it was one of the biggest struggles that I ever had to go through. And, during that time, I was closer to God than I had ever been, but still I struggled and fought and hurt. Then my mother told me something that I have kept in mind ever since that day she told me. She told me to look at my ex through Jesus’ eyes- to see her as Jesus would see her.

So, I tried it. Every time I would see her I would ask God to allow me to see her through His own eyes. To allow me to see what He saw. Eventually, I began to pray for her and eventually my heart softened and I began to see her in a light of love. Then there were some other guys I went to seminary with. Three guys that I just could not stand, three guys that just irritated me to see them. So, again, I tried to see them through Jesus’ eyes, every time I would see them, I would ask God to allow me to see them the way that He saw them. Eventually, I began to talk with them, and I even became friends with one of them.

That was the key to the door I needed. I needed to see people the way that God sees them. Not see people as tall, thin, fat or short. Not to see people as rich, poor, black or white, to see them as a creation of God. To see Jesus in every single person that exists. To see His light in everybody I ever came in contact with. I was called to love unconditionally and forgive every single person who sins against me. Sure, I fall into the sin of judgment everyday—I am a man and I am a sinner, but I do strive to be more like Jesus every day.

But, then I began to encounter things in my life that did not sit well with me. Sins that I felt were wrong. Sins that I felt I needed to stand up against. One such sin is homosexuality. I felt that God would condemn those who were homosexuals. That they would go to hell for the choices they made in the lifestyle they had chosen. But, then I began to think about Jesus again. What would Jesus do in my shoes—or actually what would I do in His?

When Jesus came to earth He, at thirty years of age, began His mission to change the minds and hearts of all mankind. He began to teach a teaching that was contrary to everything that mankind was used to thinking. He taught of mercy, love and peace. He taught of forgiving ones enemies and loving those who persecuted us. Of course, people got angry at Jesus and began to persecute Him for His contrary message of love. Then, He began to go into sinners homes. He sat with prostitutes, tax collectors and every kind of sinner there was. He ate with them and commiserated with them in their own houses. He sat with and ministered to people who were not Jews. Now, I know that we know the gospels, but let me give you this to think about: All the sinners He sat with, He loved—but He DID NOT condone or accept what they did, but He unconditionally accepted WHO they were. There is a huge difference there. There is a huge difference in accepting what people do, to who people are.

So, again I return to my earlier example of homosexuality. I do not agree with the choice of homosexuality, but I do accept the homosexual as a child of God. I choose to look at everyone, or at least I try to, through Christ’s eyes. We are not called to judge or to persecute, we are called to love. We are not called to condemn, we are called to love. I often think about what Jesus warned us about in the book of Matthew: Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

I really have to stop judging people, I have enough I have to answer for in my life. Every time I have judged someone, I will be judged by the same measure of judgment—HOW SCARY! We are called to love and accept people unconditionally.

Now comes the present day revelation that I have had. During one of my classes we were having a discussion and something came to my mind: seeing people through Jesus’ eyes. But this time, something was revealed to me: "What did Jesus see when He saw us?" Jesus saw through Jesus’ eyes! I know it sounds strange but hear me out. God created us. He got on His hands and knees and His very breath stirred the dust. His very breath mixed with the dust and He formed us in Their image. We all have the breath of God within us, and we all have God’s image—that is what Jesus saw! He saw His Father within and without. He saw the very finger prints of His Father’s hands that formed us.

When Jesus said in the book of John: We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. If we have the breath of God within us, and if everyone ever created were created by God, then when we hate others or judge them, we, in all actuality, hate God and we are judging Him.

Jesus gave us two commandments: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus, when He loved all of us, followed both of the commandments just by existing and being Himself. He loved His neighbor, which was all of us, and through loving and unconditionally, accepting His whole creation, He loved Himself. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one. If Jesus did not love one person He would be going against His own word.

We are called to love unconditionally by unconditionally accepting everyone—this is the key to the door that we are searching for. We are not to judge anyone or hate anyone, for when we do this, as I have said, we are in all actuality hating and judging God. It took me many years to understand this revelation. It took me many years to get to this point in my life. Why should we be angry with someone for doing something we do not agree with, when we ourselves have enough to answer for? We must keep in mind, just because we choose to love the sinner, does not mean we are loving the sins that they are committing. That is what Christ does for us—He loves us, and He hates the sin. We too must turn away from sin. We too must run away from sinful ways.

I continue to pray that Christ will grant me ultimate understanding for all who are in my life. I continue to pray that Christ will grant me ultimate understanding and give me His Spirit so that I can truly be like Him.

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