Monday, 29 August 2016

Loving the Unlovable

The other day I was standing in a queue in our Mess during lunch time. As I was waiting I couldn’t help but notice two girls standing ahead of me. They seemed very pretty and well-dressed and were probably undergrads. Now these girls were giggling and continuously looking back at someone in the mess. Now curiosity got the best of me and my eyes started searching for the source of what was giving the girls such a laugh. I realized that they were looking at a certain girl who was probably from Africa and had the extremely curly hair which she had braided in cornrows style. Now, I was a little perplexed and then I heard a few fragments of their conversation and I instantly felt repulsed by them. The whole incident gave me such a horrible feeling that I could hardly gulp down the food on my plate and the lack of any taste whatsoever in the food didn’t help much either.

Now you would think I want to talk about how bad the behavior was and they should be ashamed of themselves. Well yes, it was really bad and one shouldn’t judge anyone on their race or culture or anything else for that matter. But I want to bring something else also in perspective. Look at the other two girls in the picture and think about how you would perceive them. Whenever I see them I have this notion that they are probably horrible people. Am I wrong in thinking like that? Yes, I am.

My faith as a follower of Christ tells me to Love my neighbor as I love myself. Now it’s easy to love the girl who was being ridiculed but what was difficult was to even like, let alone love, the other two girls in the picture. Because Jesus didn’t tell to love only those who are good to you but everybody including those who have been horrible to you. Two of the most important commandments that Jesus has given us to follow are, that we need to love God above all and to love others as much as we love ourselves. At the moment I wanted to ask Jesus, as to what were you thinking giving us such a difficult commandment? How am I to do that? After some introspection I got this answer- “I am just asking you to do what I did, what’s wrong in that?”

Seems a little ridiculous, right? But unless you really look at the life of Christ you won’t understand that the commandments he gave us to follow are nothing more than what He Himself did for us. Now I know this begs for explanation! Humanity sinned and rebelled against God but He still loved us immensely so He made a way for us to come to Him and that way is Jesus. Even though, He is the king of kings, was born in a lowly manger and lived a common life as a carpenter till he was almost 30 years of age. He lived with people no different than us. He didn't cut himself off from "sinners" like the tax collectors (who were hated by Jews for they used to cheat them off their money), prostitutes, uneducated people, etc. Rather He healed them of their sicknesses, fed them, called them his friends and above all He forgave them when they became the same people who urged for his crucifixion. They did the very things He abhorred but he still loved them. I can’t find any reason for His love other than that He is God who absolutely adores His creation.

Jesus during his time on Earth broke a lot of cultural barriers as well. He made disciples out of fishermen; He taught the scriptures to the common masses and the so called “religious” crowds of that time used to really get offended by his teachings. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans was long standing. It was so fierce that they believed that they could get contaminated by even passing through Samaritan territory, in spite of them having the same ancestors. Jesus broke that barrier too by talking to the Samaritan woman and revealing to her that He indeed was the promised Messiah.

Now Jesus taught us a lot many things and one of those things was how to love those who are unlovable. We are living in times where we have stopped caring for anyone other than ourselves, where we have forgotten how to show affection. We are quick to judge and we are quick to hate anyone who doesn’t conform to our ways of thinking. We need to change our mindset if we want to make this world a better place. Let’s be different today; let’s find something to love about someone rather than hate them for the things they do. Let’s be a little more like Jesus today!