We all know that Jesus said to love your enemies but does that limit you to just the people you really dislike? In this generation, it’s been about racial issues and sexual orientation lifestyle. But read this passage below from Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV):
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect
I wonder, what was Jesus getting at besides giving a reminder of the commandments? Aside from the reward in which only those who seek His Kingdom would truly understand by how we love on others.
There are many stories of how Jesus interacted with people. How he invested in their lives. Going into their homes, sharing a meal and sharing stories. Jesus really took the time to get to the heart of the issue and he was no different in how he saw outsiders. He took the fishermen, he took the tax collector, he took many people on who were sinners and knew their faults. And yet, he still hung out with prositutues, the homeless and the sick. He even released a murderer as he was approaching his crucifixion. People who were in desperate need of Jesus, didn’t deserve it and despite that, Jesus still loved them.
Jesus expects us to do the same. Especially in a culture where comfort is our greatest self-satisfaction, Even as I admit my own guilt of preferring to hang out with people I’m most comfortable with I’m strongly aware of missing out on an opportunity to develop my character into what Jesus has called me to. To seek His Kingdom. A small part of it is bringing others into the picture, no matter what their background is.
My challenge for this week: Don’t just say hi and smile to some random stranger. Actually take the time and engage with them. Share our life stories. You never know what doors might be opened up. For one person, it could be a life changing moment when they experience His love for the very first time. Are you up for it?