Tuesday, October 23, 2012

loving your friends is easy...

inspiration: jack-the-lesser's sermon at theWell last night

theWell's mission is to love God. love others. be the change.
last night, Jack Hoey, III gave a powerful sermon about what it means to love others.

i thought he made some very good points last night.
and some very convicting ones

  1. in our society, we tend to equate loving others with tolerance - when we accept others, we see it as the same as loving them. and while this is very true, we must take a look at what Jesus taught about loving others. i'm not going to lie, there are people in my life that i am tolerant of. but i fail to truly get to know them on a deeper, more personal level; if i would allow myself to go beyond tolerance and love them, i would truly be loving others rather than accepting others.
  2. loving your friends is easy.
  3. loving your enemies is hard - but it will be the thing that sets us apart as Christians.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? -Matthew 5:43-47
in this passage, Christ juxtaposes loving your friends and loving your enemies.
loving others is a good thing.
but as Christ followers, we are called to go even above that: we're called to love our enemies!

loving people who we like is easy.
we do it all the time.
i have an awesome family that i love.
i am surrounded by friends whom i love.
i have an awesome boyfriend for whom i would do just about anything.

but Jesus doesn't preach about loving only those who loves us. in verse 46, he says "if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?" and in verse 47, he says "do not even the Gentiles do the same?"

everyone loves those who are lovable.
but Christ's radical love calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
that's hard.

but loving the unlovable changes everything.
i love Jack's very practical tips about how to deal with those who are unlovable.

  1. When you meet someone you want to punch in the face - do not punch them in the face.
  2. Stop trying to fix them.
  3. Find one thing that you like or admire about them.

i know for me, there are a lot of people who i get annoyed with. sometimes it's triggered by simply scrolling through my facebook news feed. i'm being completely honest when i say that sometimes i just want to virtually dropkick some people because of the things they post. i'm also very guilty of trying to "fix" people. but something that has really humbled me and helped me cease that behavior is by accepting myself as i am and knowing that even if i disagree with someone, i don't feel the need to change them. loving ourselves will help us love other better.

it's seems very elementary to say these things, but these are all key elements in loving those who we consider our enemies. don't return the hatred or bitterness to them; don't try and fix what you think is wrong about them; see the good in them - these things make it easy to see them not as an enemy or foe or antagonist in the story of our lives, but rather as a person. and it makes it harder to hate them.

loving the unlovable changes everything.
proof: the Cross.
but God shows his love for us in that (B)while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8
we were completely unlovable because of our sin.
but God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to be the payment for our sins.
when we were unlovable, Christ still chose to love us.
that's powerful.

is there someone in your life that you find it hard to love? what do you like or admire about them and how can that spur you on to loving them?

the early church was known for their radical love that crazy rumors spread about them because people couldn't fathom the love they poured out for others. people who didn't want their babies would leave them on the side of the road to die. but Christians would take them in and raise them. and because of their radical willingness to pick up these babies, rumors spread that Christians ate babies. crazy, right?! but loving others that are considered unlovable sends a powerful message to those around us? so what act of radical love can we do to show those around us that we are truly set apart for Christ?

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