Discussion and Devotional Thought of the Day:
26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?’ 27 He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ 28 Jesus said to him, ‘You have answered right, do this and life is yours.‘ Luke 10:26-28 (NJB)
10 We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 (NJB)
37 When you love somebody very much, you want to know everything about him. Meditate on this: Do you feel a hunger to know Christ? Because…that is the measure of your love for him. (1)
Maybe it is a politician, or maybe it is that star whose public acts would make you think she has absolutely no sense of morality. Maybe it is your neighbor who infuriates you, or maybe someone at church, even your pastor.
We get frustrated by them, they prove they are unworthy of trust, and our language when we speak of them gets animated, and it becomes obvious that we are against them. We might justify ourselves by saying we don’t hate them, but it is sure that we don’t love them.
For we wouldn’t treat them the way we do, in our thoughts, in words (both they heard and those we say to others) and in our deeds, if we loved them.
But we are called to love them, it is the way we are designed to live.
So how do we?
Not by our own strength of will, not by our own strength of character.
It can only happen as we love God, and more importantly, as we know we’ve been loved by God. That is how we change, or more accurately, how God changes us. For we are His work, a work that results in our works, our lives, our ability to love.
Remember, the command is to love God first! And Escriva’s words are correct, we need to have a hunger to know Christ, and the more we know Him (not just know of Him) the more we will know His love of us. Being loved by Him will change us, and knowing that love enables us to love as He does.
Even those who are difficult to love. Even for those whose lives require us to sacrifice greatly in order to love them. Even those that require incredible sacrifice, whose lives may repel us. Or those whose hatred of us, causes us to struggle to love them.
Is it possible? Look at Jesus on the cross, forgiving them. Then look at Stephen, in the pit being stoned, loving those stoning him enough to ask God to forgive their debt.
Its possible, but only in Jesus.
So love them even as Christ loves you!
Oh yes, the reason that loving them is good news, gospel, and not the command of the law? Here is the reason:
13 It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act. Philippians 2:13 (NJB)