Bibles, Crossway (2012-01-23). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (without Cross-References) (p. 849). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Love the Lord and love others. It sounds so simple, yet as Christians we often fall short. When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he wasn’t talking about our literal neighbors – those who live on either side of us. He was talking about those we come in contact with.
Most of us would say, “Of course I love others…” but what about the man who cut us off in traffic earlier? Or the woman who told lies about us? What about the friend who divulged our secrets? What about the tattooed stranger? What about the woman with the purple Mohawk? What about the gay couple who live next door? What about the atheist who ridicules our faith? What about the radical Muslim who wants us dead? What about the leader of the opposing political party? What about the TV executive who gives the ax to a Christian program? What about the store clerk who refuses to say “Merry Christmas”? What about the person who hates Christians and wishes we would all just curl up and die? I could go on, but you get the picture. Sometimes it’s difficult to love others – much less love others as we love ourselves.
What would happen if we, as Christians, left religion behind, focused on Jesus and mirrored his radical, revolutionary love? One line in the song above says “the whores all seem to love him.” Jesus went to those who were lost and hurting, and he loved them with abandon. If we loved others – even those we see as enemies – like Jesus loves them, what would happen?
A revolutionary love would change our world. Jesus died for us – if that’s not a revolutionary love, I don’t know what is. If we stepped out and blessed those who curse us, loved those we see as unlovable, we could make a real difference in our communities.
What does revolutionary love look like?
If it’s the gay couple next door, reach out and make friends with them. Love them. Treat them with respect and kindness. Chances are they’ve never had a Christian treat them with love and kindness.
The girl with the purple Mohawk? She may be the nicest young woman you could ever meet, but you won’t know that until you take the first step to reach out and treat her with love. She may need a genuine friend who will love her without judgment.
An atheist who ridicules you? Invite him to dinner – it will really confuse him. If we stop butting heads with those who don’t believe like we do, put feet to our faith, and treat them with love, they won’t know what to think.
What about the woman who told the awful lies about us? Forgive her. I’m not saying to keep going back for more, but forgive and keep quiet about it. Don’t try to get even by telling everyone what she did. Give her to the Lord. My young cousin taught me a tremendous lesson on this. A girl she went to school with spread some awful, painful lies about her. To the point that my cousin wanted to quit school.
After the dust had settled, and the lies had died down, the girl needed a ride to a game, and if she didn’t find a ride, she wouldn’t get to play. My cousin asked her mother to take the girl. She had forgiven her, and she treated the child with love in spite of the horrible pain the girl had caused. How loud did those actions speak to that child? I know they spoke very loudly to me. If a junior high girl can show a revolutionary love to a “mean girl”, then why can’t we as adult Christians show love to those who hurt us?
Instead of protesting and fighting others at every turn, why don’t we try something radical? Love them. Just as they are – without trying to change them. If we love them as we love ourselves, then we might show them a smidgen of the love that Jesus has for them.
Let’s start a revolution! One fought with love…