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Yes, Jesus Died For That Person

I was in line, ready to order a sandwich from one of my favorite eating establishments. There were several people in line in front of me. The line was slow moving because of a fellow who kept dominating the place by complaining about his meal. His fries were cold (though they’d been taken right out of the fryer and handed to him when he picked up his order). His said his soda was flat, though the guy got the same drink behind him said it tasted fine. Then it was the bacon. He didn’t believe that his bacon-burger had enough bacon. He was cussing up a storm, making for a very uncomfortable scene.

The manager was a very accommodating businessman. He offered the guy more bacon and fresh fries. The guy took the bacon and bag of fries, sat down, and continued to complain. He complained to his wife, his children, and the rest of the cliental in the restaurant. He was vulgar, loud, rude, and crude.

There was a couple in front of me, getting ready to order their food. I had seen them several times in the establishment. Though we have never spoken, I had seen them humbly bow to pray before eating. I assumed them to be a religious family, perhaps Christian.

Watching the scene, the man leaned toward his wife, gritting his teeth, and saying with an inquisitive tone, “Jesus died for that man?” His wife responded. She spoke slowly and definitively. It was obviously hard to get the words out. She wasn’t just making a statement. She was making a declaration of faith.

“YES, JESUS DIED FOR THAT MAN!”

Watching this man’s behavior, you could see that it wasn’t easy for her to believe that it was possible. It sort of turned her stomach, if you will, to believe that this kind of grace was really available.

So, who are those that cause you to stretch your understanding of God loves and grace?

Last year, during our annual Vacation Bible School, we had a fellow stop in the church looking for a meal. He was homeless, dirty, smelled badly, but he seemed friendly enough. We invited him to eat dinner with us and offered some food for the road.

The next day one of the ladies in the church called with a concern. This fellow had been kicked out of the area museum and library for trying to use the public access computers to view child porn sites. When asked to leave, he became violent and the police had to be called. Well, that raised all sorts of concerns. A bit more research and some calls to the local police and the news only got worse. He was a convicted sex offender, with a particular taste for children.

He came back that next day, wanting to hang out for a while and have more food. Obviously, we could not have him hanging around the children. I offered him more food, additional help to find shelter, and access to counseling. But I told him what we’d discovered and informed him he could not “hang out” at an event designed for children. He wasn’t too happy. He was vulgar, loud, rude, and crude.

“YES, JESUS DIED FOR THIS PERSON!”

That wasn’t an easy day. It’s much easier to look judgmentally at the people I consider vile and crude and imagine that the acceptance and inclusion of God’s grace has its limits. It’s easy to draw a circle around my opinion, my social status, my denominational heritage, my race, color, or creed, and declare that God’s love is for those on the inside of the circle. But God’s love is bigger than my circle. God’s love is not just for those on the periphery. God’s love is for those way outside.

Who are the people you have trouble loving? Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that God has any trouble loving them.  I heard somebody once say, “God is not the enemy of my enemies!  In fact, God is not even the enemy of God’s enemies!”

Look as far outside the circle as you possibly can. Make it a practice to give attention to the most vile, crude, and rude people you come across on any given day – the very people who turn your stomach in anger and frustration – and then remember…

YES, JESUS DIED FOR THAT PERSON!

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One Response to “Yes, Jesus Died For That Person”

  1. lerae says:

    Yes….Jesus died for the vilest, hurtful, mean, nasty,…among us because that is what REAL love does.

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