Jesus said that we are supposed to love our neighbors. He also said that we are supposed to love our enemies. That pretty much includes everyone doesn’t it? In Luke 10:25-37 he tells a story about a Samaritan who stops and takes care of someone who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. The story is Jesus’ response to an expert of the law. Jesus is telling him to love his neighbor and he wants to know exactly who his neighbor is. He seems to be looking for exemptions. After telling this story Jesus asks the fellow who was a true neighbor to the man who had been beaten. The answer is the Samaritan, the one who had shown mercy. Jesus then says to “Go and do likewise.”
I have thought about that parable a lot. I think it’s pretty clear that Jesus expects us to love one another regardless. I don’t believe he allows for any exceptions. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus says that all nations will be gathered before him and then separated into two groups: the sheep and the goats. The only difference between the two is the way that they showed compassion to those in need. Jesus says that we are to take care of the “least of these” while we are here. I am slowly realizing that may come at cost to us. It will make us leave our comfort zones. How can we loved the unloved if we are doing our best to ignore them? We have to get out of our pews and get out into the world. I stole the title of this post from a Kenny Loggins’ song because I think it fits.
Jesus went into the Danger Zones and loved the people he found there. I believe that we (the Church) are called to do the same thing. We can’t sit in our buildings and wait for the lost to show up. We have to go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come. We do that by loving them and meeting their needs. Sometimes that will take us out of our safe lives and right into the Danger Zone. That’s when the Church is truly fulfilling its mission. I don’t know who originally said it but there’s a saying that goes something like this: The Church shouldn’t be a social club, it should be a M.A.S.H. unit. I like that. We’re supposed to be hospital right at the edge of the war zone.
I confess, I don’t always do a good job with this. There are times when I get nervous or scared and wonder if I can really get out there and get my hands dirty. I constantly pray that God will take away that spirit of fear and give me the boldness to step out of my comfort zone. I pray that He will give me the strength to trust Him and let Him take me right into the Danger Zone.
Grace and peace