It’s Not Fair!
In His Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6, Jesus gives challenging instructions: Love your enemies. Do good without expecting anything in return. Bless and pray for those who hurt you. Do not retaliate. Be kind and generous. * Here, Jesus is talking about personal relationships. The unconditional love of Jesus is a love that’s not fair. In fact, it goes far beyond fairness, reciprocity, or an even exchange. The love of God through Christ Jesus is full of grace and mercy; it’s extravagant and is not at all self-centered. It’s unearned, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and grace-filled. It’s not fair!
Author Bob Goff reminds us, “Jesus is challenging us to draw close to people we’re tempted to push away. Picking a fight is easy. Loving each other when we disagree is how we grow. Grab the ones who get under your skin and experience the kind of love Jesus talks about.”
Well, this week’s scripture challenge hasn’t been lost on me, as I repeatedly felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction. In fact, I experienced hands-on, in-the-trenches practice in loving the way Jesus loves- without expecting anything in return.
You see, there’s someone in our family that I find very difficult to love. That person is self-centered, negative, controlling and manipulative, often blaming others and not taking responsibility for actions, even lying sometimes to make himself look like a better person.
When I have my Pastor’s hat on, I can identify just how miserable and tormented this person has been all the years I’ve known him, but when I’m just JoAn, I must admit I become resentful, bitter, and judgmental. In fact, I just want to distance myself.
A recent visit was not warm and fuzzy. It was hard. Grueling. Some moments I handled better than others. Once, I just had to leave, walk down the hall and regroup.
But, do you know what I experienced on the way home as my husband and I debriefed? Compassion. I felt sadness for the man and his seemingly miserable existence. Our conversation ended by acknowledging a call to honor, love, and respect him- as a Child of God. It’s not fair, but it’s the right the thing to do. It’s what Jesus teaches.
Maybe the Holy Spirit is convicting you of a “heart condition” similar to mine- hardness, bitterness, resentment. Perhaps, you’re holding a grudge, or you’ve taken personal offense to something someone has said or done or not done.
Harboring those feelings is not healthy for any of us and is not God’s will for us.
Please consider: What personal relationship is Jesus asking you to pay attention to? How is Jesus asking you to practice loving others following His example?
Love one another just as I have loved you.
John 13: 34.
O Lord, with Your help, let it be so.
*Please understand that this scripture is not saying to stay in abusive situations. God’s true love acts to end abuse. I believe withdrawing to a safe place and holding abusers accountable for their actions are expressions of God’s love.