TREATING EVERYONE WITH LOVE CAN PRODUCE PLEASANT SURPRISES.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read James 2:1-9, 12-13.
Verse of the Day: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself you are doing right” (James 2:8, NIV).
“I can’t believe I have to stand next to Lyle at our concert!” Amber said. She sat at the table and helped her parents wrap presents for her brother’s birthday party.
“What’s so bad about that?” Mom asked.
Amber let out a hopeless sigh. “He’s only the biggest nerd in our whole school!” She looked at her parents’ faces and saw no understanding there. “If I stand next to Lyle, people might think I like him!”
“Would that be so terrible?” Dad asked.
“He’s a nerd, Father,” Amber said. “I don’t want people thinking I like him.”
Dad turned to Mom and smiled. “I’m glad you didn’t feel that way,” he said.
“Me too,” Mom said. She leaned over the table and exchanged a kiss with Dad.
“Stop it,” Amber said. She often admonished her parents for kissing in front of her. She reached for the tape dispenser.
“What’s that all about, anyway?” she asked. Dad smiled.
“If your mom hadn’t been nice to nerds, you wouldn’t be here today.”
“What do you mean?” Amber asked.
“Your mother was one of the most popular girls in school,” Dad explained. “And I was sort of a nerd.”
“Sort of?” Mom scoffed.
“OK,” Dad said, laughing. “I was a nerd. I wasn’t popular at all, especially with the girls. Your mom was one of the few people in school who were actually nice to me.”
“Once I got to know him as a friend,” Mom said, “I realized that he was one of the smartest and funniest people I’d ever met.” She leaned over the table and, in a low voice, told Amber, “And once I taught him how to dress, he wasn’t bad looking, either!”
Amber laughed. “That’s too much!” she shouted. “Dad was a nerd.”
“The point is,” Mom said, “if I had chosen to act hatefully toward your dad, I would have missed out on the greatest man in the world.”
“When you treat everyone with love,” Dad explained, “instead of just the popular kids or the most lovable people, you often receive some pleasant surprises.”
“So you’re saying I shouldn’t be so upset about standing next to Lyle,” Amber said. Her parents didn’t answer, and she fell silent for a moment. “He can be a really nice person,” she admitted. “But I’m not marrying him, OK?” Mom and Dad laughed. “OK,” Dad said. “That’s fine with us.”
TO DISCUSS: Has treating someone with love ever produced a pleasant surprise for you? If so, describe it. Do you think we should love only the most popular people or people who are most like us? Or everyone? Is there anyone you need to treat with more love than you have been doing?
TO PRAY: “Lord, help us to love people no matter what they’re like, instead of loving only those we feel are worthy of love.”