How can I genuinely love ‘disgusting’ people?
Here are three statements about me which are completely true and accurate,
- I beat my wife up every morning!
- I haven’t spoken to my parents in over 25 years!
- My first name really isn’t John.
Indeed, I truly do ‘beat my wife up every morning’ (by about two hours) and it is no lie that I ‘have not spoken to my parents in over 25 years’ (my mother died in 1990, and my father passed away shortly after I turned 16.) Finally, my first name is actually ‘Donald,’ but I go by ‘John,’ my middle name.
Understanding the context of things makes all the difference! Understanding the context can change our perspective immediately. And when it comes to ‘disgusting people’ our loathe can swiftly turn to genuine love when we see them in the context of the cross.
Fact is, we are all disgusting people. You are disgusting. I am disgusting. From the most famous to the most infamous, the most wealthy to the most poor, the most beautiful to the most ugly, everyone is disgusting before God. Isaiah cried, “all of us have become like one who is unclean… all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa. 64:6, NASB).
But we are all also equally loved by God – everyone, including those we may consider repulsive. God is the Creator of us all, He seeks a loving relationship with each one of us, and He has made provision for the reconciliation of all who will return to Him. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).
I once told a Christian brother who was struggling with pornography, “Look into her eyes and see her lostness. See her as God sees her – a dear child He loves deeply and died to redeem.” See her “under the cross of Jesus,” as Bonhoeffer writes. In reality, all of us are just “poor human beings and sinners in need of grace.” When I see everyone in this way, Bonhoeffer testifies,
Then, everything about other people that repels me falls away. Then I see them in all their need, hardship, and distress. Their need and their sin become so heavy and oppressive to me that I feel as if they were my own… (Bonhoeffer, Life Together)
When my friend began seeing others from this context he told me he could no longer see these women in any other way. He saw also his own disgusting state before God and found new strength to turn away from this lust.
Remember, in evangelism as in discipleship we are all just “One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” We are all equally needy before God. We are all equally loved by Him, and we all have the same potential in eternity to become, as C.S. Lewis says, “immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”
The next time you face someone you deem “disgusting,” see that soul inside for whom Christ died, and see that you are none better. See that person as the ‘everlasting splendour’ God wants to make them — and you — to become!
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.