Matthew 5:43-48. Some missionaries recently told me suffering is the biggest barrier faced by the people they serve. They have few possessions, they are marginalized by the government, and they don’t know how to treat each other with kindness. It is hard for them to know and believe in Jesus when they are always suffering. The missionaries’ goal is to improve this people’s quality of life so they can begin to see Jesus is real. Instead of just delivering food, the missionaries build greenhouses and teach them how to grow crops. The hope is that by giving the people a long-term solution to their hunger, they will see the missionaries’ efforts as a tangible glimmer of Jesus’s love for them. Like my missionary friends, we have good news to share with those around us and love is the best way to get their attention. In Matthew, Jesus tells us that loving people who love us back makes us no different than people who don’t know Him. We’re called to love people regardless of who they are, how much they have or how they treat us. Loving other people is hard, especially when they don’t show any appreciate for our love or kindness. But we love them because God shows the same steadfast, persistent love to us. And through this seemingly unnatural transaction—love in exchange for hate—we have a chance to be the tangible glimmer they need to see that God wants the same for them.]]>