This is a quick check in. Jesus said “Love your neighbor.” He also said “Love your enemy.”
Here’s the heart of this – are they different? Why? What if they were the same people? Can an enemy be a neighbor?
If you look the parable of the Good Samaritan, you come away with the idea that your enemy is your neighbor.
In other words, as a follower of Jesus, you and I are called to love people, regardless of how they respond. All people. Even those who hate you and who you hate.
Imagine what the world would be like if we stopped treating people with hate and rather with love.
Jesus calls on us to love those we fear and those that fear us.
So, who do you hate? Who do you fear? Why? Name these people and groups. Why do you hate and fear them?
Lately I’ve been wondering how Jesus would retell the parable of the Good Samaritan. Would he retell it as the parable of the Good Republican or the Good Democrat, depending on the audience he would be with? What would the parable of the Good Republican sound like to a Democrat? What would the parable of the Good Democrat sound like to a Republican? I think it would be just as shocking today as the parable Jesus told.
The parable is based on the question of “Who is my neighbor?” Who is your neighbor? Certainly the ones you love and live with. What about the other people? Yes, even those people, the ones you hate or fear, they are your neighbors. Yes, those MAGA-hat wearing people, they are your neighbors. Yes, the “mob” the president called the Democrats, they are your neighbors. Yes, those white nationalists, they are your neighbors. Yes, those immigrants, especially the children put in cages and separated from their parents, they are you neighbors. Yes, MS-13 gang members are you neighbors. Yes, Muslims are your neighbors. Yes, Brett Kavanaugh is your neighbor. Yes, Dr. Ford is your neighbor. Yes, those NFL players who are kneeling during the National Anthem are your neighbors.
In other words, yes, everyone is your neighbor and if you claim to follow Jesus, then your call is to love them. That isn’t easy. That’s not mushy gushy love either. It’s hard love. It’s love that you may not prefer to carry out. It’s costly love too. And it’s a love that is given regardless of what the other person does in response. It’s not about earned love. It’s not about what love a person deserves. This kind of love isn’t about expecting others to earn our love first. Just as we can’t earn God’s love either. It’s about giving and being loving in spite of who a person is and what they do. That’s the kind of love we are called to. Because that’s the kind of love we have received from God.