A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
While I was single, I became friends with a man I wanted to get to know better. But there was a problem: He had a young daughter and she had a mother who was involved in her life. As a result, I felt as if there wouldn’t be room for me in the little girl’s heart or in the family should I marry this man. My focus was on myself—and being a part of a blended family was not my plan.
One day while I was on my knees in prayer in my apartment, I cried out to the Lord, “I like this man, but his daughter already has a mom.” Immediately, in that still, small voice that convicts, teaches, and comforts, it was as if the Lord said to me, “Yes, but I am her Father.” He was reminding me, “True. I have given the little girl a mother, but because she belongs to Me she has value. That’s why she deserves love. It’s not all about you. It’s about glorifying Me.”
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
That little God-lesson spilled over and changed my life when I met my husband. Because of that special time with the Lord, I decided I would love my step kids even before I met them. Not because I want to try to take their mother’s place, but because they are valuable as people God has created. In the beginning I decided to love them because God loves them. But then, as I moved toward His will by choosing love, genuine love began to bloom in my heart for each of them (and for my sons-in-law, too!) Now I just flat out think they are awesome.
Which brings me to something that I hope encourages and challenges you. There’s a whole lot of mess in the world today because people everywhere are offended by others who are different than them. There are entire nations, cities, groups, families, and individuals who won’t accept others who aren’t like them. Our judgmental, prideful hearts blind us to one important truth: People are important and deserve love simply because God created them. And, when we ignore the value of all people we are refusing to love those whom God loves. We are rejecting those He has created. We are rejecting His will. In this we are completely blinded, and ignorant—and we miss out. But when we open ourselves to love the way God loves, our hearts are enlarged. In this we are blessed and experience joy.
I could have never imagined how God would bless me by bringing me into my new family. If I could have had the fairy-tale life of my dreams I would have missed out on so much and I would have missed out on seeing God do something magnificently redemptive that I never thought was possible. He has delighted and surprised me.
Won’t you open your heart to Him today and love others who are different than you simply because He created them? Love who He loves. It will do your heart good.
“The second [commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12:31).
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all people you have created. Help me to see them as you see them and love them as you love them. Amen.
Application: Think about someone who you are hesitant to love, or who you have refused to love because they are different than you. Ask the Lord to show you how you can demonstrate your grace and love to them.
Related Readings: Luke 6:31; Acts 17:26; Genesis 1:26; James 3:9
By Shana Schutte