With the recent killings in Norway, religious extremism is at the forefront of people’s minds. Loved ones of the victims are asking a series of why questions, including, “why would a christian do this?” In a couple of months, American’s will be remembering victims on the ten year anniversary of 9/11, and some may be continuing to ask, “why would a muslim do this?” For one reason or another, human nature has allowed religious extremism to be solidified throughout time. From the christian crusades, to the ethnic cleansing by the Nazi’s, the list goes on and on of historical tragedies all happening in the name of God. With all of these things, how can one blame others for being an atheist? These things are what an unbelievable world simply find unbelieving.
Enter the opportunity to become a love extremist. Yes, a love extremist. An “all you need is love” believer. A “what the world needs now is love” proclaimer. “Love lifts us up where we belong!” Rather than read between the lines of scripture or take the wrath of a loving and just God into one’s own hands, follow the simplicity of Jesus’ words and become a love extremist. When asked what the greatest commandment in the law was, he answered “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.‘” (Matthew 22:37-39)
It is counterintuitive to want to destroy ourselves. Why then would one want to destroy others? If a person does not enjoy being criticized harshly, why then would the same person harshly criticize another? These things are not of love, the love of Jesus Christ. If one truly follows the example of Jesus, a person cannot claim to hurt someone else and say they did it for the love of God. Jesus calls both commandments equally important. How much can a love extremist love? “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) “Love your enemies and be good to everyone who hates you.” (Luke 6:27) Yes, a love extremist extends open arms not just to a friend, but to the author of hurt feelings. It is the love of Christ that allows us to do what Jesus did on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34-35)
Want to know more about what true love is? Be sure to read previous articles about real love: Real Love Part 1, Real Love Part 2, and Real Love Part 3.
Now therefore go! Love extremely like Jesus loved! “Love one another, as I have loved you!” (John 15:12)