Last post in the series, we talked about how if you love someone, you should treat the person with kindness, patience, respect, ect. If that's what Jesus did, we should do it too, right?
Side note- I was going to include some awesome quotes for this post, but sad news, I let my boyfriend borrow the book and he lives like 3 hours away from me so when I get it back, I'll update this post with the quotes (because they're too good not to share!) Now back to it..
I'll be honest, sometimes it's not always easy to love someone. For example, I love my brother, always have and always will. However, I may not act like it. He annoys me, on purpose. I don't really understand him, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand me. We're siblings and that's pretty normal, I think. The point is, I can say I love someone but it can be hard to act like I love them. Make sense?
The thing is, Jesus never said it would be easy. I've said before that life was never promised to us that it would be easy. I think it's safe to say then, it's not always easy to love. I mean, Jesus said, "love your enemies"....yep, enemies. Matthew 5:43-44 says, " “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 not only love your enemy, but pray for them?! That can't be easy. I'm sure He knew that. Love for Him was easy...because He is love. Us, on the other hand, love doesn't come that natural.
When we love our enemies, people most likely will give us a strange look or even turn their back on us. They don't understand why we would react with love instead of hate towards our enemies. We may lose friends. We may lose respect from others. Who knows, but those things don't matter...what matters is that we are doing what Jesus commanded us to do...to love.
Not only will we face opposition from others, but other obstacles may arise too. For instance, the debate over gay marriage has divided the church. This is a huge obstacle. I'm not going to get deep into this issue right now (if you want to read a great book for both sides of the debate..read "Torn-Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians Debate"...awesome read that will really open your eyes...at least it did for me). Anyway, churches who welcome gay/lesbian relationships are being frowned upon and churches who turn away gay/lesbian relationships are being frowned upon. Division is an obstacle that the church is facing right now and the only way we are to be united again is to get back to the basics of Jesus...love.
I mean seriously why do we get ourselves into positions like these? Ultimately, we need to check ourselves..."Is this loving? Is this life-giving?" and of course the common question of "What would Jesus do?"
It may not be easy to stand up for what you believe in, but Jesus says to "carry your cross". Matthew 16:24-26 says, " Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"
It wasn't easy for Jesus to take the sins of the world on His back...it wasn't easy for Jesus to have people who he loved, mock Him, but He completed his mission anyway. His mission of love and grace. Jesus knew that in order for his mission of love and grace to spread across the world, He knew that we as followers would have to deny ourselves...get past our selfishness and fear of serving others rather than ourselves. He made it clear to us that it would not be easy...we would have to carry a heavy cross that may inflict some inconveniences BUT He did promise that when we go all in and follow Him, it will be worth it. Opposition and discomfort didn't stop Jesus, so it shouldn't stop us either.