Hello wonderful ladies! My name is Emily Roughton, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to be apart of what God is doing through All the King’s Daughters. My husband and I are missionaries in South Asia. I don’t really like using the word “missionary” because it can often to lead to a false perception of “elite” Christianity, or a more spiritual person, which I’m excited to share with you upfront is NOT THE CASE. I’m a sinner who is desperate for the grace of God to be enough for me everyday.
Love. Not the kind of love that expresses the tastiness of pizza, and not the kind of love that fills your heart when you wear that new pair of shoes, but the kind of love that has changed your existence, given you a new heart, and filled you with an eternal hope. That’s the love I’d like to sit down and talk with you about today. The love that “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). This love has changed my life, given me reason to live, and purchased the WHOLE of my being through Christ’s blood. Yes, the whole of my being. Not just the part of me that looks good on a Sunday morning. Not just my character that’s seen when others are watching. Not just for the parts of me that are impressive or “less sinful”. Jesus died for all of me. He took ALL MY SIN. He still loves me even when I choose sleep over time in His word. He still loves me when, in my pride, I long for the praise of man and desire to steal his glory. He sill loves me when I cut corners and don’t do what is upright and pleasing to Him. He has all of me because he WANTS all of me. And this is the example we have to follow in our pursuit of loving others… JESUS.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. “- Hebrews 12:2
Our King Jesus, the one who has loved perfectly from before the foundation of the world, has come and given us the perfect example of how to really, truly, genuinely love others. Not the Facebook love that lets you see the best, and all that’s required of you is a like and a cute comment. Not the typical Sunday morning, “how are you?” “Oh we’re great!” “Praying for you, girl!” type love. I mean a love that seeks out hurting and broken people (Jesus came to SEEK and save the lost. Luke 19:10). A love that doesn’t run away and give up when things get messy and uncomfortable. A love that is rooted in OBEDIENCE not in personal benefit or selfish gain (do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3). The foundation for our love for others has to be rooted in the example of Jesus or it will eventually crumble under the weight of how hard it is to TRULY love people.
I’m not talking about your best friends, your family, and those whom you personally “click” nicely with. Jesus would have never come to the earth if love was only meant to be shown to those who are like you..because none of us are like Him, or even close to being like him! He is Holy, we are sinful. He is perfect, we are deeply flawed. He is powerful, we are weak. He is loving, we are hateful. He is selfless, we are selfish. He is humble, we are prideful. He is our perfect example. We are not called to only love and engage those who look, talk, think, act, and live like us. Jesus teaches in Matthew 5 that if we love those who loves us then we have no reward, for even sinners do that. So what does it look like to love people with other personalities, backgrounds, and cultures?
As we have our foundation laid in the perfect example of Jesus, I think the next major key is humility.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. – Philippians 2:4-9
Jesus humbled himself.
Jesus came to earth.
Jesus left perfection and came and lived among sinners.
Jesus “didn’t count equality with God a thing to be grasped”.
Jesus is perfect humility.
As I’ve lived in another country among people who are not like me at all, I’ve learned a lot. As we first arrived I found myself saying things like, “they make, do, say, and sing that WRONG.” But as I thought more about it I realized just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong. They have different likes and dislikes. They have different taste buds. They have different style preferences. They have different family dynamics. Because they are different. There are about 24,000 people groups in the world. They all have their own culture, language, food, lifestyle, and it’s been that way for thousands of years. Unfortunately, sometimes as Americans we think that our ways are ultimate, and all other ways are less-than and sometimes wrong. We allow ourselves to get frustrated and annoyed by differences in culture and end up only living with and loving those who are just like us.
But guys, I have great news! God intricately, purposefully, graciously, and perfectly created all of these people groups out of the abundance of His love and goodness! All for the sake of His glory! He is a global God. He has a global gospel. He has purchased a global bride by the blood of Jesus! We miss out on deeply knowing he heart of God if we don’t humble ourselves, lay aside differences, and care for peoples hearts.
Some other good news is that you don’t have to move to a different country in order to experience this! America is filled with people from all over the world. And sometimes boarders aren’t ultimately what create differences. I find myself choosing not to enter into relationship with people whose personality types get on my nerves or intimidate me. It doesn’t have to be some radical difference, it can be as simple as personalities that keep us from loving others.
When we allow ourselves to be driven and mastered by easy love we miss out knowing God in other people. For example, if my husband and I hadn’t moved to South Asia (in obedience, not preference) we would have never met a good friend and ministry partner, Rajesh. Rajesh has taught us things about God that an American wouldn’t be able to. In America we aren’t threatened to be cut in 4 pieces if we share the gospel. In America our moms don’t hire men to kill us in the night because we are Christians. In America we don’t live on a dollar a day because God has called us to give up everything to follow Him. I get to know a whole new side of Jesus through Rajesh’s experience. He knows Jesus in ways we don’t and vice versa. As we seek to know and love people who aren’t like us, we get to know and learn of God in ways we otherwise wouldn’t.
So ladies, today I’m praying we can love others, others in every context, in a way that looks like Jesus, humbles ourselves like Jesus, and “looks also to the interest of others.” Remember, God loves the WHOLE of your being, and he calls us to love others that same way. As we obey and follow Jesus into the hard and uncomfortable depths of people’s hearts, we know Him and become like Him. And that is our true reward.