I always enjoy it when people are surprised by love. When something you do floors them just because they really did not expect it. Whether it is a stranger in the street, or a well known rival in the workplace, something wonderful comes into the world with that dumbfounded look.
I was relating an incident to a work colleague the other day, about a business function I had once tagged along to with my wife. As circumstances had it, we ended up seated at the gay end of the table. I say that with all seriousness because, we were literally the only couple who was heterosexual at that end. Well, we’d been pleasantly chatting for an hour before something came up about evangelicals and, well, while we don’t wear it on our sleeves we don’t hide it either so we confessed. The physical reaction was so profound I may as well have slapped them all in succession. It shook them; the realization of what had just transpired, warm conversation with Christians.
There was another incident the other week, my wife decided to clear out the pantry, and, as is our practice, she asked around to see who could use all the stuff better than us. One of our friends referred us to another friend who was really doing it tough and couldn’t afford food too well, so we passed it on. She was so grateful she wanted to buy us all gifts! It is especially poignant when they person concerned is not used to receiving gifts from a stranger. It is seriously good. One of my favorite memories is was a time when we turned up at the house of some refugees with a TV and furniture we no longer had need for. They’d gotten off the plane with nothing, literally nothing, but a bag full of nappies some weeks before. The wife was just in shock. Yet all it took was us asking, who needs it?
In those circumstances it wasn’t too much effort on our part, other times – as with showing love to someone who has wronged you – it takes a whole lot more effort. Yet that is the path Jesus calls us to, is it not? In fact, loving God and loving others, isn’t that the only thing he has ever asked of us?