It’s the last day of January today so well done if you’ve read everyday. The passage is available here.
We have a joke within the family and it concerns my grandchildren. When one of them is doing something cute, someone will say; ‘if only he or she was a bit easier to love’, and then we chuckle. The point is, they are very easy to love, in fact, we can’t help it. In this passage, Jesus is not calling us to love those who are easy to love; he’s calling us to love our enemies. I don’t think any of us have this sorted, certainly not me, but Jesus’ teaching is clear and it isn’t optional.
We love because God has loved us, even when we were his enemies. Before I was born, God loved me, knowing my failures. His love was bigger than my sin and it was demonstrated at the cross where Jesus gave himself for me. “He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” “Your Father is merciful.” If God has loved us, we should love others. I’ve seen churches where they get into the idea that they need to love each other to the exclusion of all else. Of course we should love one another, but here, Jesus is saying we should love those who hate us. That means people outside the church, those who mock and insult. We love them because God loves them.
Love has to be demonstrated. It’s useless to love someone and never do anything for them. The love to which we are called is demonstrated in doing good, praying for those who curse, giving to those in need and in showing generosity. It’s a calling to be different, to stand out, to be like Jesus. Our Saviour, was the greatest teacher, his words were like no other, radical and revolutionary, but it didn’t end there. When they nailed him to a cross he said; “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (23:34) He didn’t just preach it, he lived it, he died doing it.
Lord we thank you for your great love for us and for Jesus who demonstrated that love. Help us Lord we ask, to be different, to love and to be more like you.