There are days I look at my two granddaughters and my heart feels as if it will burst open. My love for them is more intense than I ever could have imagined.
Each of them, different from the other, equally as precious. And they are easy to love because they are just flat out lovable!
If we were to be honest, we all have people in our lives who aren’t as easy to love. Perhaps loving them even comes as a challenge. Maybe I am that person in your life 🙂 I surely hope not.
Jesus asks this question …
“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even the tax collectors do that much. If you are kind to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? “ (Matthew 5:46-47, NLT)
Jesus is clearly asking us to think about how do we love those who are difficult to love – the unlovable, those who hurt us, perhaps even our enemies.
Whatever emotions may be involved, “love” here refers to “generous, warm, costly self-sacrifice for another’s good.
(New American Commentary, volume 22, page 115)
Costly self-sacrifice that is in the best interest of the other person. Yes, even those who have mistreated us or are unlovable.
Jesus was challenging the traditional teaching and asking us to go beyond, to go the extra mile. He was asking us to let them bring out the best in us not the worst. And that best is His love deposited in our hearts through His Spirit. To love when it is the hard thing to do and not the easy.
Later on in Scripture, Paul helps us out a bit by explaining how we are to accomplish this,
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us ad offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NLT)
We follow the example of Jesus. We love. We self-sacrifice. We do the hard thing.
By loving people, we don’t become followers of Jesus.
We love because we are followers of Jesus.
And in so doing,
We become recognized by our love and actions towards others.
This is Day 4 of 31 Questions Jesus Asked. You can find the entire series here.