Loving Imperfect People
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so!
Do you remember singing that song when you were a child? Or maybe you taught it to your own children or grandchildren. That song was written by a lady named, Anna Bartlett Warner, and was first published back in 1860 as a poem. We still sing it today. Now that’s longevity!
So much to cling to in that little song. Sometimes this little song pops into my head when I am weary or when something scares me. Christ is so strong, and I am so weak, but I will get through whatever it is because “Jesus loves me!”
Let’s take a look at 1 John 4. If you haven’t read through that passage in a while. It’s a good one to get our love in focus.
Verse 4 talks about “little children” which is what we usually think about when we sing the song “Jesus Loves Me”. God loved me so much that He made me His child. That to me is a wonderful thought!
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (KJV)
Look what being a child of God affords us. It gives us strength and we can even rely on that strength to overcome relationships with imperfect people. We can’t love those hurtful, lying, sword wielding tongued, stab you in the back, push your buttons, knock you when you are down kind of people on our own! We need to do it in God’s strength and in God’s way.
Greater is He!
Looking back to that little song,
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
On down in that chapter further, I see in verse 8, that it reminds me that if I am a child of God, I have to love others. Why? Because Jesus loves me! I have to forgive people even when they wrong me. I have to look past their imperfections and show love just as Jesus did. Loving others is how we are going to act when we know God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:8 (KJV)
That song says, “Jesus loves me this I know”. We can “know” that love of God. And why can we know that love? Because look at those last words in the middle of that verse above. “God is love”.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone said that about us…Oh, such and such is love! Or they said in general, “Christians are love”. But that’s not the case. We hear…. Christians are the meanest people…. Christians make me sick…. Christians are the worst…. Christians are so judgmental….Christians are so hard to be around….and on and on.
Folks, it shouldn’t be that way. We should be love! Love is what we should radiate. See what it says in verse 16 of that chapter.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16 (KJV)
We have to start thinking about Who or what is indwelling us. What’s inside is always going to come out eventually.
Verse 19 says the following,
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (KJV)
I am able to love Jesus because He loved me! Yes! Jesus loves me!
When we look through all the verses of 1 John 4, we see loving Jesus is all about living in the Spirit and living in that love and showing that love to others.
So, how do we love when it’s difficult and when it involves imperfect and even hurtful people? Well, just loving like Jesus did is going to be a great start! We weren’t perfect, but Jesus loved us. We see in His Word how He suffered for us. We see how He bled and died for our sins. We see His love and care for us.
When Jesus was on earth, He went around seeing people with compassion. I think of that verse over in Acts 10:38 and how Jesus went about doing good.
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 (KJV)
We may not to be able to go around healing people of their ailments and health problems, but surely, we can go around healing relationships and putting that love ointment on situations when it comes to imperfect people.
Loving like Jesus will focus our love. Loving like that will help us get along. Loving like that will calm the hurting and ease our minds. Loving like that will help us see past the imperfections of other people. That’s not to say that we condone their bad behaviour, but that we take that step in forgiving them just like Jesus.
That kind of love is motivated by the Holy Spirit and when we are living and walking in the Spirit of God, our love is going to be the kind of love Jesus gave us.
So, we know Jesus loves us. How much do we love Him?
Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund
Rooted in Love: Lent Reflections on Life in Christ - Sarah Mullally
We've Never Been This Way Before - R.T. Kendall
The Love of God: An Intimate Look at the Father-Heart of God - Oswald Chambers
His Love Endures for Ever - Garry J. Williams
Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People - Bob Goff