Today’s Scripture: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

From the moment Teddy walked into Ms. Thompson’s fifth grade classroom, she took an immediate dislike to the boy. She knew it was wrong, but he was dirty, he smelled funny, and his intellect left a lot to be desired. She began to take immense pleasure in marking red x’s on his papers.

As the holidays approached, Ms. Thompson felt compelled to look up Teddy’s school history. What she found made her wish she had done so sooner. Teddy had started out well in first grade, but his mother’s illness while he was in second grade and her subsequent death during Teddy’s third grade year sent him into a spiral from which he had not recovered. It was the last day before the Christmas break, and Ms. Thompson’s desk was piled with gifts from the students. She worked her way down to the very last gift – a package wrapped with a brown paper bag, sealed with masking tape, and decorated with hand-drawn Christmas trees and red bells. Giggles and snickers rattled through the room as she opened the gift and two items fell out onto her desk – a gaudy rhinestone bracelet with a couple stones missing and a half-empty bottle of cheap perfume. In an attempt to quell the laughter, Ms. Thompson stated that it was a lovely gift. She put the bracelet on her wrist and applied a dab of the perfume behind each ear.

After all the other students had left, Teddy came up to the desk and said, “Ms. Thompson, I’m glad you liked the gifts. Mom’s bracelet fits you perfectly, and you smell just like her now.”

Teddy left, and Ms. Thompson locked the door behind him. She sat down at her desk and began to weep over her lack of love for the young lad.

God had to break her heart that day. It is so important to try to see the situations that people are in. They might not appear like us, or they might turn us away by something about them. But God doesn’t turn away from us. When we start to understand the bigger picture, we start to see the person differently. If Jesus died for everyone, and we’re to have the love of God in our lives, we must love them as well.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.