11 November 2008

Taking Risks: Love

Matthew 5:43-47 (The Message)

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.

If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In the above passage, Jesus commands us to love even those who aren't easy to love. What good is it to love only those who love you? Even sinners do that. And let us not buy into the lie that some people are unlovable. They may seem unlovable, but they are indeed lovable, for God loves them so dearly that He sent Christ to die for them (John 3:16). Jesus commands us to love...even the "unlovable," and love is a verb (1 John 3:18). So we can love even when we don't feel like it. Kind of like... running. Personally, I do not really enjoy running. I know it's good for my body, so sometimes even if I don't feel like running, I do it anyway.

Let's face it. Sometimes we don't feel like loving. It's easier to ignore people, push them away, or come up with excuses for not pouring ourselves into another person. Brothers and sisters, this should not be so. Jesus loved the unlovable (John 6:37) and as his followers, we are called to do the same. You don't have to find it in yourself. God uses people --may we let Jesus show his love through us. Let us not neglect to care for one another with patience. It's not usually easy, but don't ever abandon grace and peace. Jesus didn't. (Galatians 2:21)

Lord, your love for us is so overflowing that while we were still sinners, you sent Christ to die for us. He offered life and we crucified him on the cross. Help me to learn this Christ-like love: to love and expect nothing in return.

Galatians 6:6-10 (NIV)
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


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