Matthew 5:43-48The Message (MSG)
43-47 “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.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
This is what makes Jesus a radical. He calls us to a radical love. A love that is not easy, but actually can be quite difficult. Just because it is difficult and hard to understand doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. If we are looking for excuses to dehumanize people, I think we are finding excuses to live in sin. We are called to love all and embody the grace of Jesus, no matter what may come at us, and maybe especially if persecution comes. The early church grew in massive numbers and power when they were under a greater persecution than anything we can even imagine. Are we so busy crying that things are unfair that we miss the opportunity to love those that don’t look, act, or believe like we do? We need to bring a revolution of love and grace back to the church. And this doesn’t mean we shy away from hard conversations, but that we actually embrace them because it is the loving thing to do, but we always always always start with love and relationship before anything else.