Climbing the Ladder of Love

If getting along with others was easy, we wouldn’t have to keep being reminded of the importance of it. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 5:43-47 where he gives steps to take in order to move forward with people we aren’t in step with:

1. Love them;
2. Bless them;
3. Do Good to them;
4. Pray for them.

Jesus brings in examples and contrasts to model this to his followers. He talks about how God provides for everyone, both the righteous and unrighteous. He implies that loving only those who already love you is a cop out and hanging on the lowest rung of loving. He challenges his audience to stand out from others and do more than just greet and speak to the people they think of as their own kind. He then wraps up this portion of His sermon with a command to be perfect in love, i.e., mature,complete and healthy (Greek, Hebrew translations) as our heavenly Father is.

The order of the steps on this ladder of maturity in love is meaningful. Notice, He doesn’t start with prayer first in this exercise. Perhaps that is due to our human nature of wanting to pray for a fix of what we judge as wrong with others versus finding a common bond, a reason to bless them and doing something good for them. Prayer for what we want of these people is easier than finding a reason to love them. It takes maturity, not ease, to climb this ladder.

Daily Stretch # 5: Expand Your Window of Tolerance

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