Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Law or Love?

Do you ever find it hard to love some people? Of course you do. As we all do. However, I strive to do so. I long to love as Christ loved.

This is not easy and the more I read about Jesus’ love for others the harder I find it to unconditionally, genuinely love the way he did. In fact, sometimes I think it may be impossible.

I am a pretty laid back guy and I think that it takes a lot for me to “not like” someone. However, there are those chosen few that I find myself not caring for. Again, I do strive to love as Christ loves so I often find myself thinking things such as, “Christ loved his enemies and commands that I do the same, so thats what I HAVE to do.”

This “philosophy” will allow me to speak to that someone I don’t care for if I see them in public and then feel good about myself for awhile because, of course, I want to represent Christ in my actions.

But then I am reminded of the “Rich Young Man” story found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. The man ask Jesus how he can inherit the “life of God” and Jesus essentially tells him he must keep the commandments (or love his neighbor) to which the man proudly proclaims this he has done since his childhood. Pretty good I think. Mark then says, “Jesus looked at him and LOVED him.” Jesus then tells the man to go sell his possessions and then come and follow him. The young man leaves sad.

Looks like keeping the commandments “since he was young” would have been enough… yet, as always, Jesus’ way transcends our own and we find that Truth is not a list of rules laid out for us to follow in the Bible.

Therefore, I am just like the young man in the story when I “love” people because Jesus commands me to. Its not real love. I am not living in truth, but merely following a rule. I can imagine myself having a similar encounter with Jesus where I proudly proclaim how I have loved even those I don’t like, and Jesus saying something like, “Good for you, now go and actually love someone like I do.” That is the point I walk away sad.

Jesus loved people. I mean he genuinely, unconditionally, for no reason at all, loved people. Jesus actually loved his enemies. He loved those who persecuted and hated him. He wasn’t following some rule or law.

We often justify our actions and feelings towards people by saying, “I HAVE to love them, not like them,” but I cant find where Jesus went around “not liking” people. He loved EVERYONE to death and commands us to follow his example. Not to fulfill another Law, but to transcend the Law and do the impossible and that is love as Jesus did.

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