“Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.’” -Luke 14:12-14a (NIV)
Who do we allow into our circle of friends? If we take a careful look around us, we may find that they share two things in common. The first of these is that they are similar to us. Human tendency is to congregate with others who are alike in appearance, status, tastes, and outlook. Invariably, people find a sense of affirmation and security in their identity by conforming themselves to a certain group. The second common factor is that they are of benefit to us. Somehow being in relationship with them maintains our own status, and we act out of kindness assured that its recipient will be able to return the favor. But what about those who make us feel uncomfortable; who do not fit in nor have anything to offer us? Does our love extend to those people as well?
Human love is actually not love at all. Rather it is a self-gratifying emotion that is dependent on the usefulness of others in boosting our ego and providing us with benefits. If these were taken away, and they could vanish easily, our love would dissipate along with it. True compassion is not birthed out of ulterior motives, but out of the selfless love of Christ. He had nothing to gain Himself by reaching down to draw us out of sin for as the Lord of Creation He lacked nothing. Yet because He did not want to see us perish under the weight of our wickedness, He came into this world as a vulnerable human being, endured the sufferings of this world, and experienced the agony of the cross for our sake. His gift of salvation is open to all, regardless of who we are, and will never be withdrawn or withheld. When we personally accept His death and resurrection and allow His Spirit to enter into our hearts, we will be transformed by His unconditional love if we surrender our pride to His refining work. As our selective, conditional love is replaced by His indiscriminate, unconditional love, through the work of His Spirit, we will truly understand what it means to be a child of Christ who identifies with his Father in Heaven.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.