Summary: It’s easy to love those who love us, but what about those we find it difficult to love? What about those who don’t like us? How do we still love and respect them as God’s people?
Human love is conditional
Now unfortunately, most of the time the love that we have to give out to others is conditional! You know what I mean? We only tend to love people who are beautiful, or who have great personalities, or who we find attractive in some way. You know, there’s something about them that draws us to them.
We tend to live by the philosophy that there is something out there that is worthy of our love. It might be a person. It might be a car. It might be a place, doesn’t really matter what it is. But it’s so attractive and so alluring that I will give myself to it, and I will bond myself with it because of its beauty, because of its worthiness of my love. That’s the condition – somehow and in someway that person or that object is worthy of my love and attention. But if that object changes, if that object becomes less beautiful, less attractive, less worthy of my attention – then my love for it also changes – because our love is condition.
There was a story of a woman who was badly burned in a house fire and she said that her husband saw her in the hospital and said, “You’re not the woman I married,” and he left her to marry someone younger and more beautiful. You see, human love says, If you change, my love for you will change! Because it’s conditional.
Gospel love is unconditional
But that’s the exact opposite of the gospel. That’s the reason Beauty and the Beast is so profound, because actually it’s not a fairy tale – it actually reflects the message of the gospel. It’s a message that says "I’m determined to love that which is unlovable." And that is exactly the kind of love that the gospel not only demonstrates but also calls each one of us to live out.
Loving the Unlovable. Loving the beast – and lets be honest – there’s a little bit of a beast in everyone of us. In fact, perhaps there’s probably more than anybody around us really knows about. But the message of the Gospel is that while you were still unlovable, while you were still beastly, while you were still living under a curse - ‘God demonstrated his own love for you in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’
Loving the unlovable.
Love you enemies
And whether you like it or not Christianity is all about loving those around us – everyone, without favoritism or preference. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘I love life, it’s people I can’t stand!’ You will often hear me say that ‘church would be great if it wasn’t for the people’. And if we’re honest there will be people who we feel exactly that that way about.
Sometimes people can be just down right thoughtless, mean, cruel, insensitive and difficult. Whether they mean to or not they cause us pain, and hurt by their words or by their actions. There may be people who for no apparent reason just get under our skin, people we find beastly, people we find repulsive, people we find unlovable, people we make every effort to avoid - ‘hey! Forget about this love thing, after what they did or said they don’t deserve it anyway’ – so we just spend all our time trying to keep out of their way – problem solved!