Let's not kid ourselves, there has been big changes in our lives since we repented and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. Stop and think about what you we were before Jesus:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 2:1-2)
Don't sugar coat it, call it what it was. You used to belong to the false prince, the dark lord of the rebellious mob, those who are the enemies of God. We were filled with nastiness; nothing more than foul dumb beasts. We thought we were free. We thought we were the captains of our own destiny. We thought we were so intelligent, beautiful and wise. Yet, all that time we were actually ugly, twisted and unnatural to what God had created us to do.
It's good to remember where we came from.
Sometimes we forget. We forget and we look down at those we are still there, who are still disobedient. We look down and consider ourselves better than them. We point fingers and tell them to behave themselves while forgetting what it was like to be them. Forgetting that no matter how much we tried to change ourselves we couldn't. Of all the people on this earth, we should be the ones with great understanding, compassion and love for those who belong to the false prince:
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (v.3)
Enemies of God. That's what we were. Objects of wrath. Deserving death. Deserving God's righteous judgement. God's enemy. Deserving to be removed from his creation. From his thought. From his memory.
It is good to remember.
But let's stress the "were" here. We were the enemy of God. We were objects of wrath. But something changed all that. Someone changed all that. And he didn't change it after we had cleaned ourselves up. He didn't change it once he thought we had earned it or deserved it. While we were still sinners, deserving death, he changed everything:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
There you go: because of his great love for us. Jesus went into the enemy's camp, not to slay us but to save us. He rescued us from the darkness; he showed us the way out; he broke the bonds and gave us the capacity to choose. We chose wisely. We chose Jesus and that has made all the difference.
That is an important point we must remember: we were dead in our transgressions when Jesus died for us. We were disobedient enemies of God when Jesus died. There was no redeeming quality, nothing good, nothing in us that provoked God to act on our behalf. It was simply because he choose to love us that God acted to rescue us. He loved us when we were in the same condition as our unsaved neighbour. It means he loves our neighbour and everyone else who remains dead in transgressions.
Because Jesus loves them we must love them. It is our purpose for remaining here, to allow Jesus to glorify himself through us so that others will be saved. We need to stop condemning the objects of God's affection even though they remain the objects of wrath. Understand God's great love and compassion for those who are his enemy. It shouldn't be hard to do. Look at what he did for you. But always remember, we can't save them. The only one who can rescue them is Jesus, and he desires to glorify himself through us for this purpose. Understand your purpose.