It can be difficult to love those who hurt you, who offend you or your family and friends. In Crazy Love, a truly amazing book I’ve been reading that’s really opened my eyes, Francis Chan speaks about just that. What would happen if we loved like Christ loved us? In the following excerpt from this book, I dare you to really take to heart what this is saying. You may feel as if it’s speaking directly to you. You may start to take a second glance at those who you’d normally ignore, those you wouldn’t normally extend a helping hand or a caring heart to.
“I think sometimes we assume that if we are nice, people will know that we are Christians and want to know more about Jesus. But it really doesn’t work that way. I know a lot of people who don’t know Christ and are really nice people- nicer and more fun to be with, in fact, than a lot of Christians I know. There has to be more to our faith than friendliness, politeness, and even kindness. Jesus teaches in Luke’s gospel:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners’, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36)
True faith is loving a person after he has hurt you. True love makes you stand out.
In October 2006, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a man stormed an Amish school and killed several girls. The day after the shootings, many Amish people visited the shooter’s family to say they had forgiven him. That sort of forgiveness is incomprehensible to the world; because of it, people have even accused the families of being bad parents, of not dealing properly with their anger, of living in denial.
It is just this sort of love that is crazy to the world: true love, a kind found nowhere but through Christ.
We are commanded to love our enemies and do good to them. Who are your enemies? Or, in terms we connect with better, who are the people you avoid or who avoid you? Who are the people who have hurt you or hurt your friends or hurt your kids? Are you willing to do good to those people? To reach out to them?
Frederick Buechner writes in The Magnificent Defeat,
‘The love for equals is a human thing- of a friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.
The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.
The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing- to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.
And then there is the love for the enemy- love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.’”
After reading this, I’ll admit I was naming off a few people in my head who I am less than cooperative with. I have “enemies”, so to speak, who continuously tear me down and ridicule me. They try to make a fool of who I am and the God I stand for. I get so blinded by anger, I forget that we are commanded to love others, including our enemies, the very people I ignore and avoid. Instead of lashing out and letting my rage get the best of me, I want to show God’s love in such a way that they’re utterly speechless. I want to turn their worlds’ upside down and show them what true love is.
When I go back to school in a couple weeks, I want this year to be different. Truthfully, I don’t want to be harassed or deal with unkind people, but knowing what high school is like, I am bound to be put in these uncomfortable situations. When that happens, I want to exemplify that true love Jesus so willingly showed for us when He died on the cross for our sins, our ugly and hate-filled sins.
What about you?