Jesus says: Your Love is too Small. Love Bigger.

Jesus says that as humans, we are really good at loving those who love us back.  

Most of us manage to love those who we are supposed to love, like our immediate and somewhat extended family members (most of the time).  Most of us manage to love a couple of really close friends and some folks we know at church.  Some of us love a couple people that we work with.  And, one or two of us manages to even love our boss.

But that's usually where our love stops.  Beyond that, ice begins to form along the ridges of our heart, as we grow increasingly hard and cold towards others outside this circle of people that we love most.

As a result of our love growing colder the further somebody gets from the center of our hearts, we often begin to treat people very differently from the people we really love.  For example:

  • You demonize every former romantic interest you've ever had.
  • When some random person you don't know on Facebook openly disagrees with a comment you make about President Obama on a Fox News report, and then you proceed to hurl every insult your sanctified lips can muster at that person.  
  • Anytime you see a homeless person begging for money on the side of the road, you make sure to tell your kids never to give people like that money, because they will probably just use it for booze or drugs.
  • You gladly bend over backwards to help somebody you like, but get irritated and upset over inconveniences others cause you to experience.
  • When you see a black person walking down the side of a road that you are driving on, and you instinctively lock your car door.
  • You make it a point to vote for certain politicians because they promise to destroy every Islamic radical who wishes to do harm against the United States or the nation of Israel.  
  • When you talk badly about somebody because they are rich or because they are poor, and assume they are such because they lack some sort of virtue or mindset that you just so happen to possess. 
  • You never volunteer in the community, and you give little or no money to any person or organization besides your immediate family or local church.  
  • If you experience bad customer service somewhere, and you act like a jerk towards the people who work for that company because of it.
  • You feel happy when "karma" finally pays back somebody you don't like, or you find it impossible to be happy for them when something good comes there way.
  • When you try to out perform your peers at work or school instead of simply just doing your personal best every day.  
  • You are overly critical of others, and more than happy to point out their shortcomings.
  • When you regularly "forget" to follow through on promises you make to others.  
  • You don't respond to phone calls or text messages in a timely manner (...yeah, I just went there).  

I could probably rattle off a million other things other than what I have listed above.  And I don't do such simply as somebody who is nothing more than a finger-pointer.  I do such as somebody who is something of an expert at not showing love towards others.  

And naturally speaking, I think we all know what it means to be an expert at not showing love towards others.  We love those whom we love, and that's all there is too it.  To everybody else we are cold, callous, indifferent, rude, short-tempered, and even openly hostile and hateful.  

Yet, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that heaven doesn't give out any rewards for loving those that love you back.  There is nothing particularly virtuous about this ability.  Jesus said even godless pagans are able to do the same.  Heck, even Hitler loved his mother and his wife.  So what makes you so special?

When Jesus goes so far as to say that you must "love your enemies, and to pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44; NASB), I am confronted with the reality that my ability to love is too small, and that I need to learn to love bigger that my heart's present abilities.  I need the type of love that can only come from God to fill up my heart, and make me the kind of person that can love those not only outside my bubble, but those who are openly my enemy and even want me dead.

Because my enemies... I want them dead, and I want them dead in a very Old Testament sorta way.  And the deader they are, the happier I usually am.  And, I think there is something like that in all of our hearts, to one degree or another.

It is no wonder then that Jesus linked the idea to be sons of God with the ability to love our enemies.  For such is something our hearts just don't naturally do.  It's only something those born of heaven can do, even as Jesus did on the cross.

We are more than happy to love our families and to love our country, and we are willing to defend both to the point of death.  But when it comes to loving somebody who is from another country or somebody that wants to harm or even kill us or somebody else that we love, then praying for their well being is something we leave off our to-do list for the day.  

Instead, we prefer to pack up the rucksacks of some soldiers and send them off to make war.  We'll even send these soldiers care packages just so they can keep up the morale necessary to kill people on our behalf.

Yet this ability to love our enemies is something that Jesus says indicates we are truly children of God.  Our ability to make war... not so much.

But loving those outside our heart's inner circle is something we fail so badly at.  And loving our enemies and those who actually wish us mortal harm is something entirely foreign to our way of thinking as American Christians.

It can't help but make me wonder, are we as saved as we think we are?  Our love is so small. We need to learn to love in a much bigger way.  

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