Updated: Apr 4, 2020
I don't know about you, but it feels like every time I get out of bed in the morning someone's out to get me. Now before you start thinking I'm paranoid go with me on this...
My first news of the day (usually a popup on my phone) is bad news. My weather app gives me the gloom and doom forecast "Wintry weather returns to the region". I step outside to a cold gust of air directly in my face. The shluppy path I trudge to school destroys my shoes and pants. And then I remember that I can't go to school. And all of this before 7 am! Eventually people, germs, and animals will attack me, and by the end of the day I crawl back home to Amy with a bloody gash to my head, bullet holes through my coat, and asking her if she can take me through the concussion protocol.
So I exaggerate. (Shocking, right, Amy?) But this is how some, maybe most days feel. And not just to me. I am sure some of you want to curl up under your blankets and ignore anything beyond your bed. BUT...
God has not called us to "circle the wagons", hide in our "caves", or build a protective wall around ourselves. He has called us as those abiding in the True Vine to live in this world and love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength, and to love others as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40) I can't do that while hiding from them.
"But, Doug, it's scary out there!" I know. I'm out there every day, too, like I said above. And like you it is "out there" that we truly get to show whom we follow, the One in whom we abide. On my own I want to "cut and run", but Christ has called me to love others. Who are those others?
1. Other brothers and sisters in Christ. In John 13:31-35 just before Jesus tells His disciples about His leaving and the true vine He tells them, "Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another." (vs. 34) We must pray for, encourage, and be there for our fellow "abiders". Jesus knows all about our trials. He knows this life is near impossible to do on our own, so this command is a help to us but also to show others our love for God in how we love one another. (see vs. 35)
2. The others we must love are our enemies. That's right. Those who sling mud at you. Those who seem to want nothing but your demise. God says we are to love them too. In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus tells us, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." Wow! "Hate", "curse", "abuse"! Those are strong words from a Savior who had all of those things done to Him and still was able to love. And remember, He did that for us. As it says, "while we were enemies we were reconciled to God". (Romans 5:10) He demonstrated this kind of love for us and now we get the opportunity to do the same for our "enemies". To offer them God's reconciliation through His Son.
So there you have it. To whom will you show love today? A friend? An enemy? Only God knows.
But first I have to get out from under these covers...