Love Sweet Love

Love Sweet Love

Jun 23, 2017

by Seth Osborn

SDB Church of Boulder, CO

Have you loved recently? I don’t mean the loves we usually think of: loving God, loving our family, loving a romantic interest… I mean the kind of love that’s hard. Not that those types are always easy, but this kind of love is even harder. This is the hardest love of all of them. It can only be done by deliberate choice: loving those who hate you.

In Luke 10, starting in verse 30, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. I know, I know. We have all heard this one before. Just bear with me for a bit. A man is attacked by robbers and of the three men who saw him, only one helped. Neither the priest nor the Levite showed any mercy — though they were men of God, they walked by and left this poor man for dead. No, it was the Samaritan who helped him. The Samaritans and the Jews were hostile towards each other. You could easily (and rightfully) call them enemies. But Jesus says that this is the man who was a neighbor — this is the man who showed love and in doing so obeyed God’s will.

I know this story has become hackneyed through many, many years of Christian teachings. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you rolled your eyes when you saw that this was the topic of my article. As someone who was raised in the church from birth, I understand all too well how many times you can hear this story in Sabbath School, VBS, Awana, and other child-focused ministries. I mean, that’s the easy stuff! We’ve had this drilled into our heads over and over again. Love everyone, even your enemies. Why do we need to focus on something we already know forwards and backwards?

My answer to that is simply to examine yourself. Think about your recent thoughts and behavior. Are you behaving as Jesus instructed? It could even be something as small as a heated argument on Facebook. Have you been treating the people on the other side as your neighbors? Or have you slung hateful words at them? Made accusations with no evidence? Tried to keep them out of your life as much as possible? It’s not a small task to love those who seem to be against you; it goes against our very nature. But that’s why it’s so important to revisit the Biblical teachings we already know. Just because something is a basic teaching doesn’t mean it’s easy. This story is taught to children because it’s one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity. But this means it’s a lesson we should constantly have with us instead of one we neglect. We shouldn’t disregard the things we teach children — they are still things that God wants us to know and live out.

From what I’ve seen of our current society, this is a teaching we need to resurrect. We need to treat people with love. No matter what their political beliefs, their appearance, their religion… Our job is to love. Even if we don’t feel like it, or if they don’t reciprocate, or if we’re nervous around them. That’s not to say we should trust everyone with anything, but we should still find ways to show love. If a Samaritan can help a man in need despite a deep-rooted hatred for his people, who are we to reject Jesus’ command to do likewise?

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