John 15: 12
About six years ago, our family lived in Delaware for a short time. While we lived there we attended one of the oldest Methodist churches in the area, in Townsend, Delaware. It was a wonderfully historic site full of information that I didn't even get the chance to dig into.
One sermon given in that church has stuck with me through all these years. A visiting minister was talking about her journey to join the clergy. As part of her training she was required to have a mentor. Her mentor was an older gentleman whom she came to find irritated her to no end. She found a very hard time working with him and found it hard to "love him" as commanded in the Bible. Years later, after this female minister had her own church, she met a young man also in training to be a minister who had the same mentor as she did. She asked the young man what he thought of their mutual mentor. The young man had nothing but praise for his mentor, which quite surprised the female minister!
She continued her sermon to explain how it didn't matter what she thought of her mentor because God had a purpose for him, as he has a purpose for us all. Perhaps his purpose was to be a grand influence in the young man's training. In the eyes of the young man this older mentor was wonderful. This viewpoint emphasized to the female minister that the man that irritated her so was a Child of God. God loves each and every one of us. He loves the strong, rich and powerful in the same way as he loves the poor and meek. God loves murderers and thieves as he loves little children and ministers. GOD LOVES EVERYONE! He may not like a person's choices but He still loves us all the same.
This was a wake up call for the female minister and she has driven herself to beginning viewing, or judging, people differently. Now she tries to see people as God sees them and not so much through her own eyes. God has a purpose for everyone.
This particular sermon has stuck with me for many years because, I admit, I can be very judgemental towards others. I often catch myself having to rethink a person whom I've met, especially when that person annoys me, and remind myself that God loves this person as much as I know He loves me. A humbling and empowering thought.
Dear God, Thank You Lord for Your never ending love. Every person on Earth is Your child and You have a purpose for everyone of them. Help me to love others in the way You love them. Amen.