Who do you think about when you hear we must love one another? The people around you? Your friends and family? Your Christian brothers and sisters? In the second chapter of his first letter, when John talked about loving one another he was taking the idea of love a little bit further. He was talking not just about one’s family, but one’s village.
As we learned yesterday, when it comes to loving one another well, Jesus is our ultimate Example. And what did He do? Jesus taught something like, “You have heard it is good to love your neighbor, but I tell you: love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, love those who skip past you when greeting others, and love those who never wave back at you.” We are called to love our enemies.
The Pharisees, the heads of the Jewish religion at Jesus’ time, were astonished at Him. They said, “This guy has dinner with sinners!” Jesus answered that He wasn’t sent to the righteous, nor to the self-righteous, but that it was precisely sinners He was sent to. We, as well, are called to love sinners.
Then Peter and Paul came in the book of Acts and said, “Do not just love the Jewish people—we are going to go to the Gentiles, the non-Jewish.” We are called to love those who are different from us in ethnicity, religion and culture. We are called to love even those from nations, states, cities, communities, families, people who historically have been enemies of our nation, state, city, community and family.
Love is not just a flickering feeling. Marriage is not so much about feelings or emotions, because those can change gradually or suddenly. Love and marriage are all about choice—our choice to be faithful, stand strong, and build a good relationship together. When we make this choice, then the feelings and emotions flow from it. Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross, but He chose to go to the cross. He died on the cross to pay for our sins. The love He demonstrated was deeper than a feeling. And through His death and resurrection, your soul is cleansed. We are called to choose to love.
Are you showing the love of Jesus Christ to the world? To people who are different to you? We get to be a part of God’s plan of showing His love to the world. We get to be included in it. That’s an amazing, incredible thing!