“If It Weren’t for Emily …”
Bible Reading: John 15:9-13
I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. John 15:12
“Nice outfit, Karen,” a classmate said with a smirk. “What did your mother do with the other half of her old curtains? Did she sew an outfit for your brother?”
Emily couldn’t help but hear. She knew Karen was just getting her daily dose of verbal cruelty from her classmates. Karen didn’t exactly have what it takes to be popular. She was quiet, shy—and totally brainy. She lived in the library. She wouldn’t know a gym if she wandered into one and went splat on the floor. And her style of dress was, well, decades behind the times. Any girl who called her a friend risked becoming a social reject like her, so no one did.
The next Sunday Emily heard this passage in church: “If we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?” (1 John 4:20). For a couple of days all that Emily could think about was Karen—and that Bible verse—and she knew what Jesus wanted her to do. As her fellow students stared and snickered, Emily sat down with Karen at lunch.
Emily stayed close friends with Karen through high school, even when it cost her other friends. By the end of high school, brainy Karen had the best grades in her class. Quite an honor—except it meant speaking at graduation. As Karen stood on the stage at the ceremony, she did her best to thank her parents and her teachers for their support. Then she choked. As Emily watched her friend break into tears, she stepped up to stand at Karen’s side.
Holding her friend’s hand, Karen continued. “Most of all, I want to thank Emily. When I was at my lowest point—rejected and embarrassed—she showed me what it means to be a friend. If it weren’t for Emily, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Loving others as Christ loves us can be costly. But think about the price Jesus paid to love us. He left the glory and splendor of heaven. He came to earth, where people made fun of him, rejected him, beat him, and spit upon him—then he hung on a cross. Loving us was far from comfortable for him. It cost him everything.
Jesus wants us to pass on the awesome love he has given us. Each person you meet is worth the price of loving. And when you love like Jesus loves, you never know what kind of great friends you might make.
TALK: How can you love people whom the world doesn’t love? What will it cost you? Are you willing to pay that price?
PRAY: God, teach us how to love others like you love us.
ACT: Can you think of someone in your world who reminds you of Karen? How can you befriend that person?