Monday, September 14, 2009

Keep on loving… (Hebrews 13:1-3) 140909

I think the most distinctive feature of a Christian is love. I am not referring to mushy romantic kind of love here, neither am I referring to loving-in-exchange-for-something kind of love. I am referring to the kind of love which is an outward expression of God’s amazing grace and wonderful works in our lives. Christians call it unconditional love of God, and most Christians believe that only God can have such kind of love. But I think the kind of love which the author of Hebrews is referring here in verse 1 is the same kind of love which we call the ‘unconditional love’, and we as Christians should be expressing it in our lives.

There are three groups of people the author exhorts us to love, or rather keep on loving. In other words, our love for others is not a one-off event; it is an ongoing activity and habit of our lives. We are told by the author to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (v1), strangers (v2) and prisoners (v3).

Well, it is not so difficult to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ; after all they are supposed to be nice people. But the truth is that it is actually not so easy to love Christians. I confess that I have difficulty loving some of my Christian so-called friends. (I am not going to elaborate here, because I work in an all-Christians environment!)

Therefore, sometimes, it is easier to love a stranger; because there is no string attached. When the author mentions that we might be entertaining angels without knowing it, he is probably alluding to Abraham, when he showed hospitality to his heavenly visitors in Gen. 18:2 – 15. For me to buy a meal for a stranger who has been starving for days, it is easy, though might be inconvenient at times. But the author challenge for us is to keep on loving. Keep on loving a stranger? This sounds strange. How can a stranger be a stranger if we keep on loving, keeping remembering and keeping on entertaining him? He will be a friend or even a brother in Christ by then. I think this is the point of the author. He wants us to ‘entertain’ stranger in into God’s family. He wants us to treat strangers as if they might be angels. He wants us to keep on loving.

And then lastly, he wants us to remember those who are in prison, those who are suffering, those who are being mistreated, those who are on the fringe and those who are being neglected. He wants us to suffer with them. He wants us to identify with them. He wants us to at least, remember them.

Do you have people around you who are in these categories? There are people who are being marginalized by the society. These people are around you and me. In my church, there are the girls from Andrew and Grace Home. These girls might have been behaving badly in the past, they might have committed some mistakes or crimes in the past, but they might also be unfairly treated by their family, friends, and even society in the past. They are in my church, every Sunday, but do you even notice them? Do you even remember them or even their names? Maybe this is one thing we can do, get to know the name of at least one of these girls, remember them in your prayer everyday, keep on greeting them in church whenever you see them, and keep on loving them.


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