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Love for the Unlovely

      By Fern Horst

"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:7-8)

Have you ever experienced a penetrating insight descending upon your soul via the utterance of one simple sentence from an unexpected source in an unexpected moment?

I had one such moment last week when I was spending a few days with my sister and her children. My youngest niece still needs assistance with certain bathroom tasks and hollers when she's ready for it. After one such holler from the bathroom, I told my sister that I'd help her this time. As I was giving my niece the help she needed, she asked me, "Why do you love me so much?"

The Holy Spirit spoke to me in that very moment. My niece's need for help wasn't the most appealing of tasks, and yet I chose to help her because I love her. I don't profess to know what mental processes went through her three-year-old mind at that moment, but it seems that something about my choosing to come to her aid spoke love to her.

God's love for us is the same, only so much greater. He heard our cry for help from ages past, long before we realized our sinfulness and called out in need of Him. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He chose to do it. Jesus told His Heavenly Father, "I'll go help Fern by dying for her." That loving sacrificial act compels me to ask, "Why do You love me so much?"

You may look at yourself as unlovely and unlovable. I think everyone does to a certain extent. Perhaps singles - whether never-married, divorced or widowed - are tempted to look at themselves that way more than some others. The unmarried are, after all, sometimes viewed as "the leftovers" or "the unchosen" or even, "the rejected." The reality is that God has chosen each and every one of us to die for and to love. Not one person is leftover, unchosen, or rejected in His sight.

When we realize what an amazing and loving sacrifice He made for us, we want to live our lives for Him. One of the ways we live for Him is by becoming agents of His love. We do this by helping each other with unpleasant tasks and being there for the other in times of neediness. Our modern culture has taught us to be self-sufficient, and to avoid those who are "needy." The fact is that we all are needy from time to time, need assistance from others, and go through periods of vulnerability. Our test of love is when we love each other through the ugliest and neediest of times, because that is how God loves us.

"He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (II Corinthians 5:15)

© 2008 Fern Horst

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