I was standing at the deli counter in a local grocery store, waiting my turn. Cole was with me and I was holding him in my arms. I leaned forward to give him a kiss on his little cheek. His cheek tasted so good, I gave him another kiss. And another. And another.
It was about this time that an unknown woman walked by behind me. I heard her say, "You know you shouldn't kiss on little boys in public like that."
It took a few seconds for the words to register. It took a few seconds more to realize that her words were directed at me. By then she was already gone, which was probably a good thing. I might have said something I would later regret.
I shouldn't kiss on little boys in public like that? Why not? Was my show of affection toward my own son in some way offensive to her?
It made me think about several situations in the Bible where people found God's love of others offensive for some reason or other. Jonah didn't think God should love the Ninevites because they were a wicked people. Jews didn't think God should love the Samaritans (and later, the Gentiles) because the Jews were God's chosen people, and the Samaritans and Gentiles were not. The Pharisees didn't think God should love the "common people" because they didn't keep the Law as stringently as the Pharisees did.
In all of these instances, people were trying to limit God's love of others based on who they were, not based on who the others were. Nor based on who God is.
But before we're too hard on them, let's take a look at ourselves. Do we tend to do the same thing? God loves the homeless person, but do we shun him because he hasn't bathed in a while or because his presence makes us uncomfortable? God loves the person who belongs to a different denomination, but do we think he shouldn't because they don't worship God "like we do?" God loves the illegal immigrant, but do we refuse to witness to her because she crossed a man-made border illegally (the Gospel has no borders, last time I checked - Acts 1:8).
It seems to me that God's love is without limit. It's humans who try to limit it.
So how about we all try to refrain from limiting our heavenly father's love and extend it to every one of our fellow men, women and children without question?
I truly believe that's what he would want us to do.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.