For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
About five years ago, I attended a pastor's retirement party.
There were songs and speeches and the sharing of special stories. There were presents, plaques and presentations. It was a beautiful day. At the end of the day I said to the pastor, "You know, they really love you. You must love them all."
He replied, "Most of them -- most of the time." Then he added, "It's not always easy to love everybody."
I asked him to share and, with a bit of a twinkle in his eye, he told me about the time he and his wife had gone to the hospital to see one of the members of his church: a mother who had just given birth. Before they popped into mom's room, they took a look at the baby. Having looked, the pastor turned to his wife and whispered, "That's the ugliest baby I've ever seen."
The minister thought 34 years of marriage would give him the right to say that kind of thing to his wife. "After all," he reasoned, "it's not our baby. I would never say anything like that about our baby. Not out loud, anyway."
The pastor confessed he had reasoned wrongly. Yes, his wife had been with him through thick and thin, in good times and bad, happy times and sad, but she was not going to accept the ugly baby comment. With fire in her eyes, and steel in her voice, the wife said, "Every baby is beautiful. Every baby is perfect."
The pastor didn't argue. He did proceed to see the baby's mom.
She asked, "Did you stop and see my baby?" That was easy. Yes, they had. The second question was harder. Momma asked, "Isn't my baby the most beautiful thing you ever did see?"
The pastor told me, "You know, they say when you are about to die your life passes, in an instant, before your eyes. I don't know if that is true, but I do know, in that split second I saw my entire future pass before my eyes. My honesty was weighed in the scale against having a happy wife and home."
The happy home won out.
The minister said, "Every baby is beautiful. Every baby is perfect." Everybody breathed a sigh of relief, including the preacher who said, "It's not always easy to love everybody."
On Valentine's Day we remember the Lord tells the truth: there is not a soul in this world who, on his own, can be good. As far as lovable is concerned, none of us, with the possible exception of Will Rogers, likes everybody -- except for the Lord.
He who had been sinned against, who had been insulted by humankind's disobedience, sent His Son into this world to rescue humanity. Understand, Jesus didn't come for just the best of us; He came for all of us. That's because, as the passage says, "God so loved the world" -- not a piece of it or part of it, but all of it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus has given Himself so I might be saved. Now may I, who have been rescued by Your love, reflect that love into the lives of those around me. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries