Don’t Chase a Burglar

Jesus said a lot of things that are hard to obey.  One of them is, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.  If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-31)

Isn’t hate a prerequisite to having an enemy?  When people disrespect you or curse at you shouldn’t you let them know that you disapprove?  If someone slaps you shouldn’t you fight back?  If someone takes your stuff shouldn’t you chase them?  That might be the advice some would give but it’s not that not what Jesus taught. 

Jesus is says that we are to love without limits, even our enemies (I think that Jesus’ teaching leads to having no enemies).  Godly love cares about people even if you don’t agree with them, if you are disgusted by their actions, if they are steeling your stuff, and even if they are trying to hurt you.  It’s easy to love those that aren’t steeling from you, disagreeing with you and smacking you around.  It’s even easier to love those who love you.  But there’s nothing special about your love if your love depends on the action of others.  There’s nothing special about conditional love.  Godly love is limitless. 

Jesus said elsewhere, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matt 5:46).  In other words, everyone is wired to love those who love them.  There’s nothing special about that.  But Godly love, meaning special divine love, does not choose sides.  The kind of love that Jesus teaches us to have is to be equally displayed to the person who gives you gifts as to the person who steals your gifts. 

Remember what Jesus said about those who beat him and nailed him to the cross?  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  Let us show godly love to ALL, the kind of love that Jesus showed us in his words and by his deeds.

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