Love Like That: Approachable
If we are to ever love like Jesus, we have to push pride to the side and humble our hearts. That’s a given. But Jesus takes it a step further. He says that if we are to be truly approachable and not exclusive we must do something outrageous. He says we must love our enemies. He says it flat out: “I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.”
I don’t know about you, but this is an incredibly tough pill to swallow. My nature is inclined to retaliate against those who mistreat me. My impulse is to even the score and then some. I understand loving your neighbor, your friends, your family, and even strangers. But enemies?
If you’re thinking, like me, that Jesus may have said this flippantly, for shock value, think again. He says it more than once, and he underscores it with examples: “If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.”
The servant life? This is taking “approachability” to a radical level, isn’t it? Of course. It’s not natural—it’s the very opposite of natural. That’s why Jesus also says we can only love in this radical way when we love out of our “God-created selves.” Then he tells us that “God gives his best . . . 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.”
I get that. I’m not looking for run-of-the-mill. Like you, I’m looking for extraordinary. Like you, I aspire to love like Jesus.