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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Love At All Cost

Jesus didn’t just teach about love, he loved and left us his example. However, his personification of love often went cross grain to ours. He taught a radical way to love that rejected revenge, included enemies, and led with generosity. This kind of love attracts attention, not protest.

However, we must be trained to love this way. Today, we’ll look at three love initiatives Jesus advocated in his Sermon on the Mount. I don’t think we realize that if we lived by them, we could change the world, at least the circle where we live.

No Place for Revenge

When Jesus preached about love he started with an enemy of love--revenge. The sarcastic reply is an act of revenge. The put-down is revenge. We don’t have to hit or maim or murder to commit revenge. Any time we try to put someone in their place or give them what they deserve, it is more about revenge than love.

Jesus says don’t do it. Not ever.

He says be willing to take some punches for the team. He’s not talking about abuse. He’s talking about seeing pushy people as love starved. He asks us to be his disciples and model the love he gave. Jesus never watered down the truth, but he never used truth as a way to put someone down.

Ask God for more love to address what another person tries to steal from you. Remember, a soft answer turns people around. Sarcasm and put downs never will.

Love Your Enemies

Closely related is his statement about loving our enemies. We pass by this instruction too quickly.

He’s not asking us to like our enemies and what they do. We’re not trying to make them our BFF’s. Nor is it about what we need from them. It’s about what the other person needs from us.

Remember that when Jesus spoke these words, he wasn’t just talking about the people who get on your nerves. He was talking about persecution. He spoke to people who felt like pawns in a system of inequity where they had no voice..

He didn’t give anyone a pass here. He said, if you want to grow closer to God—love your enemies. Connect with how God’s heart breaks over the angry shooter or terrorist or arrogant employer. God knows how insecure, incomplete, and unloved these people are. He knows how love shared at the right time and in the right way makes a difference.

Love Prompts Generosity.

Generous people love deeply. They’ve learned to give love before they give things or money. It’s not a maudlin, weak kind of love that feels sorry for people and so they give. It doesn’t come from guilt because of the inequality between themselves and others. It isn’t even a close cousin to pity. Love is purer and deeper and wider and more healing than that. That’s why Jesus spoke against tooting our horn about giving. It cancels the love and becomes pride.

We must be so filled with God’s love that it simply overflows in generosity to others. We are conduits for God’s love. We let His love run through us in ways that won’t deplete us when we give. There will always be enough love from God to be extravagantly generous with it.

Nothing is more sought after in this world than love. Nothing is more available than God’s love. We must be His poster children who share the message only by sharing love His way. It is upside down to everything our me-first culture pushes. But it is right side up in the kingdom Jesus came to share. When we live redeemed, healed, and empowered in God's love, we can share love more fully with the people around us who are starving for this right-side up love.

Who needs your love today?

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