I came across the example of the missionary Robert A. Jaffrey this week:
Robert Jaffrey played a major role in opening Vietnam to the gospel. He did so largely because of this quality that all great leaders share. “Nothing can take the place of affection… Intellect will not do. Bible knowledge is not enough.” Jaffrey loved people for their own sakes. He was happy in the presence of human beings, whatever their race and color.
Jaffrey was able to love all people because of how Christ loved him, and that is the same love that we are called to. Yeah, yeah, I know that most Christians know this, and many Christians excel in this area. There is an area in each of our hearts, however, where we would like to hide away a few individuals that we consider exempt from the command to love, or times in our daily lives that we excuse ourselves from having to love.
How well do we love when it is inconvienient, or when the recipient does not love us back? What about when the person is actively sinning against us, either openly or behind our backs? The words of Jesus often convict me at this point:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36)
Can we say that, like Robert Jaffrey, we are really “happy in the presence of human beings?” Can we say that we really love indiscriminately? The purpose of conviction is to lead us to Christ, and in Christ this type of love is possible. He is the example of this type of love, and his Spirit is our source. Let us thank Christ for this love, pray for this love in our own lives, and seek specifically to live it every day!
Thanks for reading,