The Help

I watched a movie last night called “The Help” The movie was set in Mississippi during early 60’s When the President was assassinated. It was all about how the white man treated the black man. It was very painful to watch. In the end the main character went up to her accuser and said “You are godless women, (she was a christian) ………….. (long pause) Aren’t you tired? …… Aren’t you tired? What she meant was …….. aren’t you tired of being a racist, a liar, a hypocrite? Hateful all of the time, bitter? A plethora of things I am not and don’t want to be. The movie broke my heart. Mainly because there are still people out there today that act the same way. This morning when I open my devotion it took me to the passage below in the Message. I think if I really searched my heart I would find some of that ugly stuff in there.

So here is the big question for today. How are you at loving the unlovable?

Matthew 5:43-47
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. The Message

Katherine Anne Porter writes, “Love must be learned, and learned again and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction, but waits only to be provoked.”

Love is not a natural response that gushes out of us unbidden. But hate is always ready to naturally spring forth, like the “Old Faithful” geyser at Yellowstone National Park. Christian love, on the other hand, must be chased after, aspired to, and practiced.

The popular culture completely misunderstands this principle. One of the cruelest and most self-condemning remarks I’ve ever heard is the one men often use when they leave their wives for another woman: “The truth is, I’ve never loved you.” This is meant to be an attack on the wife—saying in effect, “The truth is, I’ve never found you lovable.” But put it in a Christian context, it’s a confession of the man’s utter failure to be a Christian. If he hasn’t loved his wife, it is not his wife’s fault, but his. Jesus calls us to love even the unlovable—even our enemies!—so a man who says “I’ve never loved you” is a man who is saying essentially this: “I’ve never acted like a Christian.”

—Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage: Gift Edition

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