What we know and what we see are often two very different realities
We know that sun is always there, but our experience of night time doesn’t evidence its existence to our human eyes. While we have absolute proof of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the vast majority of it is invisible to the naked eye. We know that as a community of believers we’re called to love people unconditionally, but we don’t often see the evidence of it right before our eyes. That’s just a set of three examples.
Except one of them doesn’t add up.
When we break down the good news to its core mantra, one of the two sentences is: love your neighbour as yourself. While that does require you to love yourself (morning pep talks in the mirror are advised) it also requires us to love everyone else just as much. The thing is, I’m not convinced we’re doing it. Or at least we’re not doing it enough. So here’s my proposition:
Let’s start loving people intentionally, and let’s get one thing straight: loving people is costly
Love that has a lasting impact is not cheap: it requires a price to be paid. Loving those who are deemed by society to be unlovely comes with the cost of social stigma. Giving your love and time to those in your school, university, or workplace who do not confine to our set standards of social norms may cost you opportunities and friendships that would have been incredibly beneficial to you.
Jesus did it all the time: His love was so outrageous that the outcasts of society climbed trees to get a better view of him and sacrificed goods worth a year’s wages at his feet, while breaking all codes of social norms, just to have that contact with him. He loved in such a way that all those we don’t normally hang around with were drawn to Him, and it came at the cost of respect from those whom society had elevated to places of honour. The Pharisees were mortified when Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. They set the social standard, and they declared that He did not fit.
We must be willing to love like Jesus did: outrageously, and unceasingly
We are Jesus’ ambassadors on this earth: we are the outposts of heaven, stationed to represent its culture where we are. If we don’t love in a way that costs us, whether that be time, money, reputation, or anything else, then we’re not demonstrating to the world the extravagant love we ourselves have been shown. We owe people an encounter with Jesus that is so outrageous; they can’t help but be changed.
It means not just doing one off ‘nice things’. It means not paying it forward just so we can hashtag it and feel good. It means asking yourself what it is you hold dear, tossing it aside, and pursuing the radical love of the Father. Because we’re loving on people, not performing rituals. We’re in the battle between love and hate, and we’re playing for keeps. Let’s love our enemies into submission, love the broken into wholeness, and love those who are bound until they find freedom.
When we see the results, we’ll laugh at the pittance we paid to get there.
Jonno Rossol is a 25 year-old English teacher and writer. He is married to Ann-Chris and currently lives in Duisburg, Germany. His passions are literature and writing poetry. He pursues his dreams, and believes that life was meant to be a wild, crazy, adventurous discovery. In his spare time, Jonno eats German ice cream, which is infinitely tastier than English ice cream.