Have you ever known someone that was really hard to love? So hard in fact that you chose not to love them? I had a neighbor who made my life miserable for several years. When my husband and I first moved next door, I was nine months pregnant. We worked furiously to get me moved-in quickly. In the midst of it all, Bob rang the doorbell. Rather than welcome us to the neighborhood, Bob reprimanded us for leaving our unpacked boxes at the curb (two nights before pick-up). Another time, he scolded us for having our sprinkler too close to his yard—it was getting the end of his driveway wet. I wondered if he scolded God when it rained! Time and time again he corrected us. It was hard to love my neighbor. So, I’m sorry to say…I didn’t.
One day, Bob installed a large tower in his backyard so he could operate his “ham” radio from home. (A “ham” radio is a radio frequency communication device that can be very helpful in emergencies, but is also a hobby for amateur operators.) The next night, after we had finally put our newborn down, we heard voices coming through our baby monitor. After hours of mindless ham babble, we heard, “10-4, this is Dynamite Bob, over and out.” This went on for months, and continually interrupted whatever quiet time we had, because it also came through our television. It drove us crazy! But one day it all stopped and never returned. We didn’t look into why, we just rejoiced. Months later we learned Dynamite Bob had gotten cancer and died.
I now realize that Dynamite Bob was just a lonely man who never had a friend. He communicated the only way he could—anonymously to strangers across the airways (long before the Internet). Jesus would have found a way to serve him. Jesus would have loved him to the end.
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1
At that moment Jesus knew that His time had come to be wrongfully accused, mocked, flogged, and hung on a cross. Without caring for His own needs, He rose from supper, poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. This was something that only the lowest servant would do for a master.
Love became an action word. It might have been easy to wash John’s feet, he would go to the cross, but what about Peter who would deny him and Thomas who would doubt? What about Judas? He would betray Him. Jesus did not distinguish between them. He loved them all until the end.
There are those in our world that are easy to love, and then there are the Dynamite Bobs. Jesus’ example shows us that love is more than a feeling. It is aligning our wills with the love of the Father. Jesus did not wash Judas’ feet to gain appreciation. He did it out of His love for God. He washed the feet of those who sinned against him. What an example of love! I have missed so many opportunities, but there are many more that I will come across. Who am I called to love to the end?