Sunday, December 17, 2006

Love Greets People Outside Our Group

I have been reading through "What Jesus Demands from the World" by John Piper, a book that Janet gave me for my birthday last month. She knows how much I like John Piper's writings.

This is a paragraph from page 233.

Loving our enemy includes those who are hard to love, whether a hostile stranger or a bad-tempered spouse. And therefore the ways of love that Jesus demands are as varied as self-sacrifice at the one end of the spectrum and a simple greeting at the other end. It is remarkable that in the context of enemy-love Jesus says something as ordinary as, "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?" (Matt. 5:47). People concerned with global suffering and international injustices might think this is ridiculously individualistic and insignificant. Greetings? Does it really matter in a world like ours whom we say hello to on the street? Jesus knows that the true condition of our heart is revealed not just by the global causes we espouse, but by the daily acts of courtesy we show. Relentlessly he pursues the transformation of our hearts, not just the alteration of our social agendas.

What a needed word! It is so easy to "love humanity" without actually loving people. I want (and need) to do both.


Phil Sanders said...

Perhaps the reason we all love Jesus so much is that he loved and acted toward us while we were yet helpless, ungodly sinners, who at heart were his enemies (cf. Rom. 5:6-10). We don't like to think of ouirselves that way, and yet that is what we were.

Now that we are reconciled and no longer enemies of the cross, we must be like Christ to help those who are enemies of the cross to become friends.

God bless you Terry for your good thoughts.

Terry said...

Great comments, Phil! Thanks for posting them.