Reaching Out To A Hostile World
Love your neighbor as yourself. - Mark 12:31
We live in a fallen world, a world full of self-gratification, a world full of hurting people. We are becoming more self-focused, and more self-satisfied. We force our views upon others, and insist on our opinions to be accepted. We are becoming more individualistic and less caring about those around us.
Jesus was once asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mk. 12:28). His answer, known as the Great Commandment, was twofold: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (cf. Mk.12:30, 31).
Jesus commands us to love. Whether we are speaking of love of God or love of others, love epitomizes the divine will for human beings. After all, God is love (cf. 1 Jn. 4:8) and His love is unconditional which means that God’s love for a person is irrespective of that person’s love for God. Unconditional love, simply put, is love without strings attached. It’s love you offer freely. You don’t base it on what someone does for you in return. You simply love them and want nothing more than their happiness.
In the same way, Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbour requires you to love other people who cannot benefit us. Genuine love for God manifests itself in perfect love for one’s fellow man. We are called to love others with the same kind of love with which God has loved us ( cf. Jn. 13:34), and to treat others with the same detailed care we treat ourselves (cf. Mt. 22:39).
Apart from the Great Commandment, Jesus also gave us the Great Commission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, - Mt. 28:19
If we love God and love our neighbours, it will be natural for us to obey the Great Commission. This does not necessarily mean that we need to cross borders. A good start would be to cross the street and engage with your neighbour with godly love, be it your colleague at work, or the migrant worker in your neighbourhood.
Christian ministry, at its core, is interacting with all kinds of people (Great Commission) and relating lovingly to them with the love of God (Great Commandment). But if we want to reach out with godly (agape) love to a world that is hostile to God, we need to build relationships so that we can develop mutual honesty and trust. The relationships you establish with unbelievers might open their eyes, ears, and hearts so they can see, hear, and understand the Gospel. At the same time, by exercising godly love for others, we display the abiding presence of God’s love in our lives (cf. 1 Jn. 4:12).
Thank you, for loving me despite all of my faults and issues. Lord, I ask that you help me to love my neighbours with that same kind of love that You pour on me. Help me to see my neighbours through Your eyes. Show me how I can help them, so that through me, they can see the love of Christ. Help me to meet them where they are and to love them as You love them.
In Jesus name,