Matthew 5:47 (NLT)
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

Jesus speaking to a crowd explains it is not enough just to love friends and family, but our love should be extended to all people; for those who do not know God know how to love a friend. Since God loves us despite our sins, we too should learn to love despite the problems and faults of others. We need to learn to love unconditionally.

Jean Vanier, founder of the L�Arche communities, told the following story about persevering in our practice of unconditional love:

I know a man who lives in Paris. His wife has Alzheimer�s. He was an important businessman � his life filled with busyness. But he said that when his wife fell sick, �I just couldn�t put her into an institution� I fed her. I bathed her.� I went to Paris to visit them, and this businessman who had been very busy all his life said, �I have changed. I have become more human.� I got a letter from him recently. He said that in the middle of the night his wife woke him up. She came out of the fog for a moment, and she said, �Darling, I just want to say thank you for all you�re doing for me.� Then she fell back into the fog. He told me, �I wept and I wept.�

Sometimes Christ calls us to love people who cannot love us in return. They live in the fog of mental illness, disabilities, poverty, or even spiritual blindness. We may only receive fleeting glimpses of gratitude. But just as Jesus loved us in the midst of our spiritual darkness, so we continue to love others, even as they may walk through a deep fog.

(From Leadership Journal � Winter 2011, quoting from Living Gently in a Violent World by Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier.)

There are many of you who can probably relate to the story above. I also know there are many who have been able to love unconditionally. You have given a part of your life to serve others. May God bless you and allow to continue loving others with mercy and grace just as God loves you.