I remember hearing a story on the radio years ago about a list that identified the most influential people in history, with Jesus named as the second-most influential. When the author of the list was asked about that particular ranking, he responded by saying that Jesus would have easily been at the top of the list if it hadn’t been for one shortcoming. That one problem was that those who claim to be influenced by Jesus don’t seem to be able to keep his command to love their enemies. We follow Jesus on the easier things, but when it comes to the hard sayings, it is as if we never heard them.
God’s plan for reaching the lost of this world is to use His disciples as ambassadors, bringing Jesus to the people. While part of that witness is the teaching of the Word of God, it also includes the testimony that our behavior provides. The words of the Great Commission call people to not simply know God’s word, but to obey all that Christ has commanded, and our obedience speaks much louder than the words that we proclaim. No one is going to listen to someone proclaiming the love of God if that person was just seen yelling at someone else.
In these tragically divisive times, the world is paying far more attention to the actions of the church than they are to the words of Scripture. If you count yourself as a member of the body of Christ, what does the world see when they look at you? Do they see you more concerned with the political affairs of this world than the heavenly affairs of God’s kingdom? Do they see snarky or derogatory comments when they look at your social media posts? Do they see someone who has deemed people of opposing political persuasion to be the enemy, to be defeated by whatever means necessary?
Or do they see someone who is more concerned about divine election than political election – someone who shows love for even their loudest, meanest critics? Do they see someone who is praying for and seeking God’s blessings upon those who are their persecutors? Do they see someone who is willing to love people just as they are, knowing that God, in His infinite grace and mercy, can transform the life of even the harshest of opponents?
If you are having trouble loving others as Christ commands you, turn off the social media, get away from your computer or television, and instead spend time meditating on God’s word. The nearer we draw to God, the less significant the politics of this world become, and we begin to gain the proper perspective on this life and the life to come. If we are to love our enemies, we must find our strength in God’s love for us – because He loved us even when we were enemies to Him. He doesn’t ask anything of us that He hasn’t already done for us. For that reason, we must follow Him.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron