2022 Discipleship Series: Loving the Unlovely
Have you ever said or heard someone say, "Look at her! Can you believe what she's wearing?” Or, have you listened to whispers about a new girl at your job or school who looks and acts weird? She’s different, and if you want to hang out with the popular group, you won’t talk to her. It’s us versus them. You know, those who aren’t like you or me.
Whether you are the popular one or always feel like an outsider, all of us experience judgment for something we said or did at one time or another. The feeling of being different can be, at times, overwhelming. Either we hear someone say that we are different, or the voice inside condemns us. In either case, how we view ourselves or others can be damaging. It doesn’t even matter so much what the other person says as much as whether or not we believe it to be true.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34 NIV).
Do you believe that?
Loving others or even ourselves can be hard, especially if we struggle with condemnation. But the best news is this: God loves you and me. Since His love beats in our hearts, we can show His love to others, even those we consider to be different. All of us are unique in one way or another, so we should learn to embrace our differences.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16 NIV).
Let me repeat that: Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
That is what it all boils down to ─ living in the love of God and knowing that His love also lives in those whom we think are different. They aren’t so different from us anyway, are they? Our differences make us unique. Together, we make a beautiful tapestry created in the image of God, our Heavenly Father.
For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139: 13-14 ESV).
So, let us embrace our differences, celebrate our uniqueness as daughters of the King, and dance with our Father as He sings over you and me.
May God’s Grace and Love surround you
Carol Ann Keefer
Over the past thirty years, Carol Ann has served as a deacon, superintendent, and Children’s Sunday School teacher at Swatara Church of God (ERC). Passionate about writing, she published a book entitled Reflections: A Journey from the Heart, a collection of poems and short devotions, in 2012.
Registration for The Flourish Conference is now open! We hope you and your friends will join us! It is going to be a wonderful weekend together. For more information and/or to register, please visit https://www.theflourishconference.org/