In today’s hyper-polarized world there are more than enough issues that can set people against one another. Jesus was aware of our propensity to want to tribalize and become hyper-partisan. He also knew that truth would be questioned. He described how the enemy (the deceiver) works; through deception, twisting of words and accusation. Then and now, honesty is questioned, and the truth is relative to experience and perspective.
Jesus came into a partisan and polarized world where words deceived, motives were questioned, and traditions and cultures clashed. Jesus showed us a way through. He walked with those who were hard working everyday fisherman, and those who worked at stealing the livelihood of others through extortion as tax collectors. Jesus ate with them both, spent time and ministered with all the classes of people. He would sit in the house of the religious leaders and receive worship from a woman with an unreligious reputation.
As Christians, there are few things that we are called to do more than love those who don’t deserve it, and to worship the God who gave himself for those who don’t deserve it. Jesus was questioned one day by the religious teachers to make sure Jesus was getting it right with their doctrines. In Matthew 22:26-40 (NKJV) Jesus laid the foundation for honoring God and people.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus established the Great Commandment as our top priority. Without the Great Commandment, all that we do and say for God would not be established in His Kingdom. For us to be able to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples, we must first come back to the foundation Jesus laid for all of us.
Love God, love others.
I believe that this is a season for the Body of Christ to go back to the roots for all we do and believe. Not our political bents, not our distinctive doctrines, not doing stuff just for the sake of service, but giving our self fully to loving a good God and loving all our neighbors. Jesus told a parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10 revealing that loving your neighbor has more to do with those you disagree with, than loving those with whom you agree. Our preferences, bents and desires likely won’t change, and perhaps they don’t need to, but we can bridge the gap and show love of God, as we love God and love others.
Chris Bassett is senior leader at Harvest Valley Worship Center, hvwc.com.