Christ’s love expands hearts and neighbourhoods
Written by Katherine Aliya
I love riding the bus. It’s a chance to talk to or listen to people I wouldn’t run into anywhere else. One day, I couldn’t help but overhear a lady behind me. The conversation was horrifying as well as desperately sad.
Her whole worldview was tilted at a different angle than mine. My gut reaction to many of the things she believed was sickened rejection. Her assumptions about family, the church, and my God were as true to her as they were an abomination to me.
But it is for her that Christ died.
The thought haunted me. That Christ is not only for the outwardly okay, but also for the obviously off-putting. Our God is not surprised at humans being legitimately nasty. He came for the broken and the sick.
He loves us with a measureless love, and in His full knowledge of us, He still died. For us He lived, died, rose, and even now stands waiting for the great day of restoration. That restoration is freely available to me, to her, to you, and to all our neighbours.
Nothing we do can forfeit what we never earned. God welcomes us as we are, with no illusions, to His very throne to be with Him.
Even when we’re not very good at loving others like He has loved us.
How many times have I stumbled on a hidden part of myself in despair? What about my neighbours whose obviously harmful choices I can’t quite bear to be around? Who, in a sort of painful awkwardness, I would almost prefer not to exist?
Because I have been saved, I can, in the wonder of unspeakable grace, do my best to reflect the love of God without exceptions. He loved me first.
This poem is written in the voice of the lady I overheard, reacting to an imaginary Christian friend. Though I failed to talk to her that day, my heart’s neighbourhood is larger now.
How do I repent from what I
Don’t know how to stop?
A U-turn you say?
A whole different way?
How can I believe
You lot won’t be to me,
Like that flock of geese
That drew my eyes
And dropped a
On my shoes?
Your God will never fail me?
Why would he even care?
He liked prostitutes on earth?
And you still think him holy?
Not like that.