December 1 - Loving the Unlovely

By Joanna Zeiner

Today's Scripture: 1 John 2:7 (NLT)

Central Thought: Loving the unlovely begins with me.

    'Heavenly Father, you know I love Jesse, but…” My prayer was cut short, interrupted by divine censure, 'You do not! Be honest with yourself—you despise Jesse.” I couldn't breathe for several seconds at this ruthless unmasking of a false piety I had not allowed myself to own. After all, the Bible tells me to love everyone—and I was a preacher's wife! But in possibly my first encounter with total self-honesty I cried out, 'Yes, you are right, Father. I hate everything Jesse is and all he stands for. God, help me!” It was a hard road.

    Within two weeks Jesse knocked on our front door needing spiritual and emotional help, and he even moved into our home for a season. He reeked unloveliness in every way possible, but we tried to accept him and offer Him God's unconditional love. Were we able to help Jesse? Possibly. Only God knows. However, I learned so much about loving—about how God loves me. Though unlovely in all my ways, God takes me in and offers me unconditional love, whether I reciprocate that love or not. As old as creation and as new as today, 'love one another” takes on new meaning when I see myself through God's eyes.

Devotional Prayer: Father, I wonder what smells worse to You, stark unloveliness or false piety! Help me when I cannot love. Forgive me when I pretend. Help me see others through the same lens that You use with me.

Today's Bible Reading: Daniel 8:1-27; 1 John 2:1-17; Psalm 120:1-7; Proverbs 28:25-26