As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’t For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13
I’ve been getting this message quite a bit lately so I now need to blog on this topic of relentless radical love. I would first like to point out that we are not given the capacity to judge others while we are alive in this world. Our mandate does not call us to look at others in a judgmental way. We all have sinned and fallen short according to Romans. When we point a finger at a brother or sister or even an outside, it’s like the blind leading the blind. Yet we do it so easily. Even an outsider that is doing something we don’t approve of should not be crossed off the list of receiving radical love from us. Jesus in the above story shows us how radical we should be. He had Matthew a tax collector follow Him. The tax collector at the time was looked at as a traitor to Israel and a thief. They were really thought of as low life scum. Jesus could have passed on this dude, but instead choose him to be part of something greater than even himself. When we judge people and shame them with their sin, we are saying we are better than they are and they have no place in the church. Our churches should have an environment of security and strength, not being judgmental and finger pointing. I think we are fearful that if we accept them and love them that we are approving of whatever sin they are doing. We don’t have to love the sin just the heart of the person who is behind the sin. That’s what Jesus did with Matthew. This radical love has to be relentless. No conditions should be put on this type of love, or any kind of love for that matter. Here are 5 ways we can get relentless radical love moving in our lives.
- Jesus chooses to disciple Matthew. He looked past Matthew’s sin and saw a good heart that could be effective for the kingdom. Testimony potential is what we should be seeing; not focusing on the sin in their lives and writing them off. That very sin will hopefully be the testimony for them to heal others. If God doesn’t use you, He will use someone else to your regret.
- Jesus spent time with Matthew. He went to his home and ate dinner with him. Jesus was not ashamed of being with Matthew or afraid of being misunderstood. Are we willing to be this radical, to enter the home of a sinner and dine with them? Jesus did and He even was called out on it. Remember your character and actions will be your reputation.
- Jesus was determined to love Matthew. Being called out by the Pharisee’s was not a good thing at the time. You didn’t want to tick off the heads of the synagogue. Are we radical enough not to care what the “super spiritual” think of our loving radically? There can be opposition when we love radically, because people are easily shamed and when that happens they want to show you how superior they are when they are so wrong. A determined spirit will move us through that opposition.
- Jesus was courageous. He stood up for the decision He made and did not back down when He was faced with the opposition. Courage and determination keep us relentless in our application of radical love.
- Understand your place. Know that your love can bring healing as Jesus talks about; having mercy is so much better than judging people. When we point out others sins, we are showing them something they already know. You are not going to change a person by hitting them over the head with a bible and telling them what’s wrong with them. Change comes by radically loving them and maybe being uncomfortable to bring healing to them.
When Jesus says He desires mercy not sacrifice, He means unconditional love in action, over religion. When we have relentless radical love for others, we are bringing glory to God, not ourselves. We shouldn’t fear our reputation being tarnished, because in the end truth will prevail. It’s so easy to be judgmental, so hard to love unconditionally, courageously, determined, relentless, and radical. But, that’s what Jesus did.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple]