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Often I find it easier to be nice rather than loving.
Most days I’d rather have a nice chat with a friend between classes at university than read the Bible with them and ask how they’re really going with God. Some days I’d prefer to go to the beach instead of the Uni Bible Talk. Sometimes I’d even study (!!) instead of do walk-up evangelism.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes I just want to do what is nice rather than what is necessary or most loving.
But then I think about Jesus… If Jesus were only nice He wouldn’t have bothered warning people about the coming of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). He would have just let them get on with their busy lives without bothering them about God’s coming judgment.
And again, in Matthew 3:7, a nice Jesus wouldn’t have bothered to rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducees about their closed hearts – he would have just let them be. Nice Jesus would never have gotten so angry with the dove sellers and money-changers at the temple because they were just trying to earn some money (Matthew 29:12).
And Nice Jesus would never have gone to the cross and laid down his life for me! He would have let me continue happily in my selfishness and sin!
But actually, Jesus loved me so much he was willing to intentionally rebuke me, warn me, get angry at me… so that I’d realise the foolishness of ignoring his reign. He loved me so much he was willing to leave the comforts and safety of heaven and die even for me (!!) even though I was raging in war against him!
Being nice is easy. But loving others is often inconvenient and uncomfortable. But I’ve been challenged that loving people means going further than just being nice.
Loving people means copying Jesus and the example He set on the cross. It means I stop looking inward and start looking outward to people’s greatest need – forgiveness from Jesus.
Kate Radkovic (7pm)
Minister’s Challenge: Could you think of two people – for whom you will pray by name – for a chance: to invite to church at Easter or to Simply Christianity in May, or to have a ‘God conversation’, or to ask to read a Gospel with you, or just to catch up with socially with the mindset of caring for their eternity?
Would you then pray daily for them this week in the lead up to Easter? Could you also briefly tell someone else at church today about the two you commit to praying for?