Interestingly she was voted Woman of the Millennium in 1999 years after her death.
When I was reading about her life I notice what she had said about not being able to shake hands with closed fist and it made me think of the all the "unlovely"people that I have come in contact with that I find so hard to love!
Jesus said if we are His then we must find it in our hearts not only to forgive them but to love them.
I'm wondering if this so called love is the same for everyone - should I love them in the same way that I love my wife and our kids? Or is there a special love that is reserved for the unlovely in this world that makes it easier for me to love them?
I had to grapple with this question when I read in the Bible that God loves everyone. Personally I would find it hard to love terrorists and people who have really hurt others in abominable ways in the same way as I love my two children and five grandchildren
I wonder what God would think of this situation - after all Jesus died for the sins of all mankind and commands us to love as he does.
In my previous blogs I have related how I was sexually abused by my older bother and that fact alone makes me hesitant to love everyone as as I love my own family and as I love God - yes I may have forgiven him to an extent but to love sacrificially to Him?? I must admit I struggle with that.
I know that Christians emphatically are to be people who love, actually exuding love, communicating love and give sacrificial love - after all Jesus "demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners he died for us"(Romans 5:8) - so if Jesus could die for us sinners then we should imitate that love for everyone. Sadly I fail, as I reckon we all do, to an extent in not imitating this amazing love for others.
It says in John 13:35 that people will know we are Christians and Jesus' disciples in the way that we love each other.
All this taken into account I still struggle with showing the same measure of love to everyone I meet.
I take my cue from the Paul when he wrote to the church in Galatia and told them to do good to everyone but ESPECIALLY the church - so Paul here is saying that ESPECIALLY the church - the ones who love God we are to show special love (Galatians 6:10).
I feel we are given family as a true gift from God - and because of that we have a huge obligation toward our spouses and our children as special gifts from God and true blessings. In fact it's a moral obligation as well. This moral obligation to my mind is far far greater than that extended to others.
In 1 John 3:1 John writes Think how much the Father loves us. he loves us so much that he lets us be called His children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, then they do not know who we are. (CEV). The NIV version calls it a lavished love - WOW!
To my mind Jesus loves his children - the church - in a very special way - just like Israel held a very special place in His heart - we His children hold a very special place there as well.
I believe there are distinctions in the love that we show to mankind and our families - We are to love our enemies - that is plain to all who have ever read the Bible (Matthew 5: 43-48) and we are to show goodness and kindness to all but there is in my mind a special love reserved for our spouses, children and families and our church families.
God has shown me in countless ways that I should love my brother, forgive my brother, even pray for my brother but God has also given me a family that is such a blessing to me and he has given a love for them in my heart that overrides all others. Is that wrong? I would heartily disagree and say in fact that it is a VERY special blessing indeed!
God loves His own people in very special ways - he loves us His followers intimately and intensely. In this way I feel we as Christians love our spouses, children and families in very special ways as well.
We are commanded to show God's love, humility, grace and mercy to others. Likewise we are to love Christ, our spouses and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in very special ways indeed.
I would be most interested to hear what you think and what you feel about this - please contact me or leave replies.
God bless you this week as you tackle the subject on unconditional love and to love and Christ does.