'If It Wasn't for Emily...'

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Loving others as Christ loves you is costly. Think about the price Jesus paid to love us.

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. What did your mother do with the other half of your grand­mother’s old curtains? Did your brother get an outfit too?”

That verbal slam echoed so loudly through the hallway that Emily couldn’t help but overhear. Emily knew it was hard for people to be friendly to Karen, who was quiet, reservedand brilliant. She lived in the library and wouldn’t know a gym if she wandered into one and fell on the floor. And her style of dress was, well, slightly behind the times. Guys wouldn’t be caught dead with Karen. Girls who talked to her risked becoming a social outcast like her, so no one did. Karen even sat alone when she attended her church youth group.

But Karen’s situation was getting to Emily. Just last Sunday her youth pastor had taught on 1 John 4:20: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?” Emily couldn’t ask for a more obvious op­portunity to do what Jesus wanted her to do. And soas her fellow students watched and snickeredEmily approached Karen in the cafeteria and asked her to join her for lunch. For the first time since fifth grade, Karen had a friend.

Emily remained Karen’s friend through high school, even though it cost her many other friends. When they graduated, Karen was named valedictorian of their senior class. As she began her speech, she did her best to thank her parents and her teachers for their support. Then she choked and began to cry. Recognizing that her friend was losing it, Emily stepped onto the stage to stand by her side.

Holding her friend’s hand, Karen continued through her tears. “Most of all, I want to thank Emily. When I was at my lowest pointalone, rejected, and ready to give up on lifeshe showed me what it means to be a friend and what it means to love unconditionally. If it weren’t for Emily, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

Loving others as Christ loves you is costly. Think about the price Jesus paid to love us. He left the glory and splendor of heaven. He came to earth and was ridiculed, rejected, beaten, spit upon, and crucified. Loving us wasn’t comfortable or conve­nient for him. It cost him everything.

Jesus calls us to love others in the same way. So what are you willing to “spend” to love others? Will you give up your convenience, popularity, time, energy, or money? Will you step outside your comfortable world to get into the lives of people like Karen?

REFLECT: Will you love the people that the world doesn’t love? What will it cost you? Are you willing to pay that price?

PRAY: Ask God today whom he would like to begin loving through you.

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