Do people annoy you sometimes? Do you find it hard to love certain people? For a season of my life I believed that I was called to love people but that didn’t mean I had to like them. Yet compared to the love I showed to those people I genuinely liked it was a very small amount of love! I came to the realisation if I wanted to be like Jesus I needed to work on my liking as well as my loving.
Have you ever heard God speak this to you? I love you but I don’t like you.
But you do understand these words: I don’t like what you did, but I like you and I love you.
Let’s talk about love: have a think of people who may have gossiped about you, misrepresented you, complained about you. Now, with those people in mind let’s talk about the demonstration of your love to those people. You don’t like what they did. Can you find something you do like about them? Can you show to love them sacrificially?
Remember the days when you had people come round for dinner? Who did you invite? Nice people?
The goal of our life is to love how God loves. So how does He do it?
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5 v 45-47)
Jesus took a saying of the Jews which said that the resurrection of the dead was for the just but rain was for the just and the wicked. He uses their words to say that within his kingdom people imitate God. They love even the tax-collector (Matthew would know) and the pagan.
Most of the Jews believed that God actually hated the Gentiles but loved them. Think about the following beliefs:
There were 3 things to be thankful for as a Jewish man, you were not a slave, a woman or a GENTILE.
Never help a GENTILE, not at all, no matter how small or how much of an emergency it was. The answer was NO.
Funerals were held for Jews who married GENTILES. They were dead people.
You might disagree with a person’s belief or behaviour but you are stupid to disagree with God’s love!