If we are going to serve others then we must commit to loving them. If we are going to love in the way we should than we must be ready to feel uncomfortable. Love is usually something that we give to someone compatible with us. We like the way they look. We like what they like. It just feels right to love this person because we are comfortable with them. Love is also something that we usually give so that it will be reciprocated. It comes natural for us to think, “If I am going to love you, than you’ve got to show me something in return.” Jesus, however, calls us to love in a way that is uncomfortable and unnatural to us.
In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” I have heard many people declare that they would take a bullet for a buddy or they would die for their “besties.” We think we get what Jesus is saying here but it is important to see what Jesus’ definition of “friends” are and what He Himself demonstrated to truly understand what “greater love” is. A lawyer stood up before Jesus in Luke 10:25 and asked Him, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (vs. 25-29). The lawyer thought he had this down. This sounded simple enough. He had his own definition of neighbors which he figured Jesus would agree with however he couldn’t have been more wrong. Jesus goes into a story about the good Samaritan completely shattering this man’s definition and comfort level. Jesus told him to love just like someone who was the most hated and despised of that region. “You know that guy that you absolutely cannot stand? I want you to be like him.” I can feel the anger build up in the lawyer as I read this. I can imagine the lists of horrible things he could say about Samaritans building up in his mind. This is who Jesus defined as his neighbor. Jesus also told crowds of people to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them. These were to be their friends. Think of those you cannot stand. Think of that one person who completely burned you or the other who just gets under your skin. These are the ones Jesus is calling us to lay down our lives for. If His words are not enough Jesus demonstrated this type of love when He died for us “while we were yet sinners”! Jesus didn’t demonstrate His love for us when we were lovable or ready to reciprocate. He loved us when we were at our worst.
The Bible is clear when it calls for us to love the unlovable and care for our enemies. There are times we need to serve the undeserving because this is what Christ did for each one of us at the cross. Sometimes love will look differently in different situations and for different individuals. There will be times when love means keeping our mouths shut and other times when love means confronting someone for a sin. There will be times that love means continuing to love even when there is absolutely no sign of love in return but this is the love of Christ. This is how we display Jesus in our world. This is how others will see the way that Jesus loves. This kind of love will go against the norms of society. It will cause you to abandon what is natural and seek the Lord for His supernatural love to be display through you for His glory.
Learning To Love Uncomfortably, Pastor Rudy