Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Loving Into Lovability"

I was reading this blog post by John Piper called "Consider Loving Someone Into Lovability" where he discusses that God justifies His people as righteous before they demonstrate any goodness. God loves them and then, after such love, their heart is changed.

Piper then poses the question, "Can we do the same? Can we, by God's grace, love someone into lovability?"

What a difficult task. It's so much easier when someone is hard to love to just walk away. It's so much easier to make our relationships consumer like and avoid those are not very fun to love and serve.

When I read Piper's blog, two things came to mind:

First, if God looks upon me as now sinless because of the sacrifice that Christ has made, it means He also looks upon the person I find difficult to love as sinless perfection as well. Those I am frustrated or angry with are perfect in God's eyes. They are made in His image. They have been perfected by Him and His sacrifice. If we are both on the same plane in God's sight, then finding myself superior to someone is not a possibility. And if I do not feel superior in any way to that person, they become much easier to love.

The second thing that I thought of was how very gracious God is with us. We find it so difficult to love those around us who we feel don't "deserve" our time, effort and energy and yet we are unphased by the amount of sacrifice that has been poured into us when we were considered unlovable. We are so hard hearted that we look upon Christ's blood and sacrifice as cheap. Christ believed that in our totally depraved and sinful state, we were worth dying for. Yet we have difficulty extending grace, patience and love to that family member who is overly opinionated. To the checkout lady who we feel always gives us attitude. To the friend who always complains.

We know that love is supposed to be sacrificial but we often find it harder to make the small day to day sacrifices of loving those we find "difficult" than to make big sacrifices for those we feel are serving us well.

But the more we meditate on 1) our lack of superiority because of the Gospel and 2) the abundant Grace that has been given us by Jesus, hopefully(!) the easier it will become.