Who do you love the least?

Yesterday at church, my pastor said, "You really only love God as much as the person you love the least." Wow. That really hit me hard. Immediately, my thoughts shot to a person who I very strongly dislike. I've said discouraging things about this person (not in front of them, of course...ha, like that really makes a difference!), thought bad thoughts about the person, etc. You know, some people really are just hard to be around. However, they are each created in God's image nonetheless. When I judge someone for their personality, their appearance, the way the smell, the people they hang out with, the clothes they wear...I am expressing favoritism.

James 2:1 says, "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism."

This word, "favoritism", which is translated in King James Version "respect of persons", also means, "the fault of one who when called on to give judgment has respect of the outward circumstances of man and not to their intrinsic merits, and so prefers, as the more worthy, one who is rich, high born, or powerful, to another who does not have these qualities" according to Blue Letter Bible's lexicon. I have been guilty of that so many times. It is so easy to judge a person before we forget they they too are God's workmanship.

James goes on to say, "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (emphasis added) The word "chosen" refers to choosing with kindness, favor, and love. Now, honestly, when someone smells funky or looks a little rough, I do not want to have anything to do with them! My human nature says, "Ew! Gross! Look the other way! Run!" I'm disgusted. Can't someone take a bath once in a while?

Ah, but Jesus chose the poor while he was on earth. He ate at tables with tax collectors, He touched lepers who had been deemed untouchable, He healed blind, dirty beggars, He spoke with Samaritans. Look, He even chose poor fishermen as his disciples. All those who had been cast low in society, Jesus loved. All those who were usually chosen last, He chose first.

So, sisters, this is the question I have for you. A question that I have been pondering:

What does it look like for us, as believers, to choose, love, be Jesus to those we love the least?

The amount of love we express for the person we love the least reflects the amount of love we have for God. This just makes me want to love everyone, EVERYONE! so much that there is no doubt that I love God. Even those who are sick (this is a tough one for me because I am a germophobe), those who are dirty, those who are rude, those who have made terrible decisions, those who have hurt you. We must love each of these people the way we would love Jesus if He was walking on the earth. With admiration, grace, patience, and truth. What can you do for the person you love the least today?

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