A Love That Changes the World

this is nothing short of radical

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you…Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  —Luke 6:27–28; 35-36 

About 100 years ago, the Times of London sent out a question to some of the brightest thinkers of their time. The question was: “What is wrong with the world today?” GK Chesterton, one of my favorite writers, wrote back: “What is wrong with the world today?” He wrote, “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, GK Chesterton.” 

You can’t look at our world without realizing there is brokenness everywhere. International tensions are at an all-time high. Global financial security is shaky at best. Most of us have been the victims of hatred, anger, caustic words, polarizing attitudes, tribalism. These all contribute to the problem.

But one of the blind spots of our time is to see the problems in our world as out there. “The problem is a group, an organization or a system.” Maybe you’ve heard some of these examples: 

  • The problem is the system
  • The problem is the police
  • The problem is racism
  • The problem is our government
  • The problem is the media
  • The problem is the republicans
  • The problem is the democrats
  • The problem is corporate greed

It is human nature to blame the problem on something or someone else. 

But Jesus—as usual—shows us a better way. He tells us to lift up our eyes to see what God is doing: that His sun rises and His rain falls on the just and the unjust. He is kind and generous to the ungrateful and even the wicked.

“So,” Jesus concludes, “if God is kind, compassionate and generous to even the ungrateful and the wicked, you—be like your Heavenly Father.” See others from your His perspective.

Why should we love others? Why should we be generous? Why do we not look for ways to get back at others? Because that is how God treats you

“If you’re willing to listen—here’s what you do…”

Jesus said: “If you’re willing to listen—here’s what you do…

  • Love your enemies
  • Do good those who hate you
  • When someone slaps you on one side of your face, offer the other side.   
  • Give to others—especially those who hate you—expecting nothing in return 
  • And when you give something to someone, let it go. Don’t demand it back.

“Wait…Who does that!? That’s not natural.”

Nope. That is the point. It’s supernatural.

My anger, my vitriol, pointing my fingers—whatever I may do to point out the problems I see in others, does nothing but create greater division and problems. It is only when I realize that these attitudes have fueled the fire of animosity that I can see from God’s perspective. My life—our lives—are intertwined in our world. The problem isn’t “out there”; I am a part of it all.

And from that place I see that the only real solution is to live out God’s love in my life for the others—especially the difficult ones—that He has placed purposefully in my life.

And this is crucial: these “difficult people” are there because God has purposefully placed them there. Where you live, play and work is no mistake. God has put you there for a purpose.

Can I get personal? Jesus is saying, “The good things you’ve experienced in life, your heavenly Father has done for you. Now, as you follow me, I’m asking you to pay that forward to others. Because when you do, you will truly be children of your Heavenly Father.” Here is the complete text of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:27-36

Let me ask you this question as I finish: 

What would happen in your workplace if a couple of people began treating everyone at work this way? Would that change the environment of your work place? I think so. Treating others this way has the potential to transform your workplace relationships. 

What if a committed core of people in your city began living this way; treating each other this way? Loving people who are hard to love? Serving people who don’t deserve it? 

What Jesus is teaching here is nothing short of radical. 

What Jesus is teaching here is nothing short of radical.

Imagine what could be if we got ahold of this and began living it out in our city.  It would turn it upside down. That is what the Spirit of God does in our life, and it is what Jesus’ disciples do. They change the atmosphere. They live out the love of Christ and share his life-changing message to their people.

Love your enemies. 

Don’t curse the dark—light a light. Be the change. Then lift up your eyes and watch what God begins doing in the lives of the people around you.

And it all starts with Christ. 

Bill Herried is a pastor at CenterPoint Church in Tacoma, Washington and is married to the most extraordinary woman on the planet. Together they have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. He has been the lead pastor at CenterPoint Christian Fellowship in Tacoma since 2006. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, and Master of Divinity from Corban University in Salem, Oregon—and he loves a good biryani.

Image by iqbal nuril anwar from Pixabay

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