Do You Love All the Saints?

post date: June 10, 2010


I’ve been pondering Paul’s statement in Ephesians 1:15 that he prayed for the Ephesian believers when he heard about “their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all the saints.” It’s that last phrase that grabbed me. The NLT says, “Your love for God’s people everywhere.”

Hmmmm.

We love all the saints some of the time.
And we love some of the saints all the time.

Or we love the saints who love us most of the time.
Or we love the saints who think like we do.

But some of them are hard to love.
Some of them act snotty toward us. Hard to love them.
Some of them have weird beliefs.

We’re not even sure some of the “saints” are really saints.
We find it easier to love people who believe just like us.
We love PLU–People Like Us.

It’s quite a challenge if you think about loving all of God’s people, everywhere, all the time. It requires an adjustment of our thinking, a broadening of our horizons, an opening of our eyes, a willingness to love those with whom we disagree, and it even means we’ll love some unlovely people. It certainly means loving people of different backgrounds, culture, skin color, language, heritage, and even people who go to a church very different from ours. 

Perhaps you’ve heard this little couplet:

To live up above with the saints that we love, that will be glory.
But to live down below with the saints that we know, that’s another story.

We chuckle because it’s true. But consider this. Do you love all the saints or only some of the saints? Or do you prefer the saints who think and act like you, who treat you well and hang out with you and see the world the way you do?

I don’t know what else to say other than we desperately need this in our fragmented, hurting, divided world. I invite you to search your own heart for signs of a sectarian spirit. This is not a call to give up essential truth because it is the gospel that unites us as believers, but it is a call to expand our hearts to love all God’s people, everywhere, all the time. 

High calling, noble challenge.
Without Jesus we can’t do it.

“Behold, how they love one another.”
The world waits to see if we really mean it.

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