Love Recklessly

The short summer break is upon us. School is out for about a month. Most of our closest friends here have returned to their hometowns for a few weeks. But this gives us even more time to focus on our language learning, so that’s hardly a bad thing. I told you yesterday that on Thursday night, Sn. brought a couple of friends with him. One of them, Ma. brought a Bible and a book explaining how to understand the Bible (in English). She told me that she was having a hard time understanding the Bible. Turns out she’s been reading it in English. I told her she ought to quit that and read in Chinese. She seemed surprised, but she quickly turned to matters about the origin of the Bible and its organization. So we talked about that for a while. Hoping to turn the conversation in the most important way, I asked Ma. is she believed in God.

“No. Right now I do not believe in God.” We talked for a while about the difference between religion and a relationship with God, but she still has some serious reservations. She came with her own Bible, a book about the Bible, and a desire to learn. She reads the Bible, she asks questions, but she doesn’t even believe in God. I hope you will join me in praying for Ma.

It seems we are conditioned to care deeply about only a few people. To give our few closest relations a heavy dose of our love. Our immediate family, a beloved cousin or grandparent, a best friend or two. Every relationship brings both joy and trouble. So, we draw our circle of deep caring very tightly, carefully discerning who provides a safe investment for our love.

I think this natural inclination to close ourselves off in a circle of love is the reason for Jesus’ repeated commands to love each other. We don’t naturally do it. It is counter-nature to walk down the streets of a city and care about the people that crowd around you. It is strange to care deeply about people the first time you meet them, or if you never meet them. But this is the kind of love that Jesus asks us to have. He even set an example. Seeing the multitudes, He was moved with compassion. That’s a couple steps past feeling sorry for them. He wept over the city of Jerusalem, knowing the city was headed for destruction.

Here in a city of millions, it’s hard to fulfill this command. But it’s hard no matter what the size of your city is! There’s just something inside of us that finds it really hard to care deeply what happens in other people’s lives (or eternities). We all “care.” But I believe the words are “to love our neighbor as ourselves.”

Am I as concerned about Ma.’s eternity as my own?
Am I as concerned about the family that lives next door as my own?
Am I as concerned about A.’s spiritual growth as my own?
Am I as concerned about my taxi driver’s church home as my own?
Am I as concerned about F. reading the Bible as myself?

We all draw the circles. Around our country. Our city. Our church. Our family. Because we know implicitly how many people care deeply about US. But we are called to follow the God who so loved the world… A God who loved recklessly, destined for heartbreak from unreturned, despised love. But a God who loved anyway.

2 Comments on “Love Recklessly”

  1. Austin Gardner August 4, 2007 at 7:41 pm #

    wonderful is all that i can say

  2. Keith Shumaker August 6, 2007 at 8:38 am #

    Keep up the good work. These questions come as a shock to a selfish society. I believe that we all need to do better at loving our neighbor as ourself.

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