According to Jewish law, if someone hurts you, you have every right to hurt them back. After all, the law above all laws says that you should love God with all your heart, mind and soul and the law that goes with it is you should love your neighbor as yourself. But this says nothing about extending love beyond God and neighbor.
And then along comes Jesus and he stretches the boundaries of love and takes it to a place that people can’t imagine. “Don’t just love your friends. Anybody can do that,” he says. “What I’m asking you to do, as my followers, is love your enemies. Don’t seek revenge for those who wrong you, but seek to do them well. Return love for hatred.”
Now, if that doesn’t push you to the limit, I don’t know what will. It’s what Jesus did in his own life. He hung out with the people no respectable person wanted to be associated with. He touched the untouchables. He ate with the unclean. And then, he pushed love to the limit by going to a cross and loving the ones who put him there.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been my experience that God is continually pushing me to my love limit, too. Just when I think I’ve gone as far as I possibly can, I’m challenged with a new struggle to love someone I had never considered.
On this Good Friday, take some time to think about the limits of your love. Who are those people in your life you find it impossible to love? How could you grow to see them through the eyes of the one who had the grace to forgive those who nailed him to a cross?