“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.“
Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT)
Different. Jesus expects us to be different – in fact, much different than those around us. Jesus asks His listeners “how are you different from anyone else?” Perhaps Jesus would be asking us the same question today.
We live in times when many don’t like or tolerate people who are different from them. Let’s choose to act differently towards those who are different. If Jesus calls us to love our enemies, just think how He would call us to treat those who are different from us. Different by race, denomination or faith, socioeconomic status, or even political party.
This should be especially true in those we serve. Who are you serving? If you are not a servant, how in the world can you consider yourself a follower of Jesus? We should not only be serving those who are similar to us, we should be serving those who are different from us. In so doing, two outcomes are likely to result. First, we will likely find our similarities overshadow our differences. Second, we will come to appreciate and celebrate many of our differences rather than be threatened by them.
Let’s not be like the pagans. Let’s be different.
This is the third in the “Provide Services to People of Any or No Faith” series of blog posts on our Journey to Palpable Kingdom Presence.