READ: Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In Luke Chapter 10 Jesus tells a parable to an expert in religious law who was asking how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told the parable of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers and beaten. A priest comes along, but goes by the man. A Levite also walks by the man. But a Samaritan came to where the man was and when he saw him he had pity on him. He went to him, bandaged his wounds, and poured oil and wine on them. He put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn and paid to take care of him there.
Jesus then asks, "which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" And Jesus instructed him, "Go and do likewise."
It can be difficult to love those who don't deserve it. But when we ask ourselves, "How could God offer love to me (a sinner, a mess-up, a failure over and over). Yet he loves me. He forgives me. He wants to spend eternity with me. He loves me with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. NO IF'S, AND'S, OR BUTS. Yet he is a perfect and holy God. He showed me grace, when I deserved punishment and eternal damnation.
When we understand the God kind of GRACE that has been extended to us, we will want to extend that type of GRACE to others. And we can do this - through God who gives us the ability to love.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36
As Christians we are called to LOVE - AND EXTEND GRACE AND LOVE TO EVERYONE.