Why We Must Show The Love Of Christ To Jerks

I was such a jerk. I had no natural affection. I wasn't kind. I wasn't loving. I was puffed up and  braggadocious. I stayed to myself and when I did speak, I said something nasty. The year was 1992. I was visiting family in Mexico City and had determined I would have nothing to do with anyone. And yet she loved me.

The year was 1996. I was, once again, you guessed it, a jerk. I had just moved to WV and angry as a hornet. I hated everyone and everything. I wasn't in a speaking mood. I had blisters and sores on my soul as I walked the two and a half miles everyday to buy a pack of cigarettes. But smoke rings will never fill an empty soul.

I met a group of Christians and do you know what? They were kind to me. It didn't cause a 180° turn that moment, but it did make an impression.

Now that I'm a born-again blood-bought Christian I can truly appreciate how far those small gestures of kindness went in my life. It was because I was such a total mess that the kindness of others wore a groove in my heart. We tend to focus less on kindnesses we think we deserve.

The truth is that the world is full of jerks who need to know about Jesus. It is our job to speak love into the void that has sometimes been filled with the crud and with the worst that this life has to bring. Another truth is that we all, at some time or another, have been jerks.

I was a big, fat jerk last week. I probably will be again today. Not because I idolize jerkiness, but because i'm human. Even as Christians, we go around offending one another because that is human nature. We bump and bruise and steamroll right over one another. But there is another way. The way of Christ and the law of love.

There is forgiveness and there is grace. So that I can forgive you for your less than stellar ways and you can forgive me when I said what I had ought not. We can show the world the upside-notion of going the extra mile and treating others how we want to be treated.

Just remember that to see the harvest of the seeds of love may take time, decades even. It may not show a quick turn-around. We must be patient to see results.  

And not only have we all been jerks, but everyone on earth has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If you think you haven't, just go over the ten commandments again. I'll wait.

And while our bumps and warts as Christians must be smoothed over with love, this is even more true for those outside the kingdom. They need our love and kindness even more, because we are demonstrating that Christ loves them and wants to forgive them of their sins. That He is willing to enter into a relationship with them and to be their heavenly Father. That when we, who were unlovely and lost in sin needed a Savior, Christ was willing to go to the cross to pay for our sins.

That Jesus would be willing to die for the unworthy.

For jerks for like you and me.

That He asked forgiveness for the people who nailed Him to the cross and who jeered and Him and mocked because, as Christ said, 'they know not what they do'. That is the kind of love goes beyond any inclination of merit or of having deserved it in any way, shape or form.

We are terrible.

Admit it.

We're a sorry mess of congealed humanity. And so from one jerk to another, let's remain humble and know that we're all capable of snide remarks, untoward thoughts and being less than kind. I don't care whether you're grandma Moses or Mr. Cool Guy.

We all act less than worthy at times. Let's extend a welcome hand to those who are unworthy in the hopes that someday they will turn around. There's nothing that gets the attentions of a jerk, quite like a dose of good-hearted kindness. Remember, too, that it is the jerk who likely needs it the most. 

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