The barrier-destroying basis of our love

Oswald Goulter was a missionary to China for 30 years. On his return trip home, his boat made a stop along the coast of India.

While there, he heard about some Jewish people living in barn lofts because they had been denied entry to so many countries. Since it was Christmas time, Goulter went around wishing them a Merry Christmas.

“We’re Jews,” they said.
“I know, but it’s Christmas,” he replied.
“We don’t observe Christmas. We’re not followers of Christ. We’re Jews.”
“I know,” he said, “but what would you like for Christmas?”
“We don’t keep Christmas.”
“I know, but what would you like? If somebody gave you something for Christmas, what would you like?”
They thought about an answer and said: “Well, we’d like some good German pastry.”
“Good!” he said.

Goulter brought some back as a gift and said, “Merry Christmas!”

When Goulter later told the story, someone was upset with him. “Why did you do that? They don’t believe in Jesus!”

This is how he replied: “But I do. I do.”

This story reminds us about a very important principle on the road to a more peaceful and loving world: The kind of people we are is not based on who other people are, but on who Jesus is. In other words, our love is based on Jesus, not consensus.

And he is “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the barrier-destroying basis of the love we show.

Our love toward others isn’t based on someone’s religion, ethnicity, lifestyle, mistakes, status, or finances. Does that mean you agree with everyone about everything? Of course not! But Jesus showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11), the outcast (Mark 1:41), gentiles/non-Jews (Mark 7:29), and even the possessed (Mark 1:25).

So, is your love only reserved for people who are just like you? Or does it flow to a wider group—to people who are loved by God?

Our love is based on Jesus, not consensus.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • Today’s “Up!” is connected to my Sunday podcast at Westminster. You can listen in here. Enjoy!
  • Fred Craddock tells this story in the book, Craddock Stories.
  • Bible quotes are from the New International Version.

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