Jesus’ Focus on Love. Enemies? Really?
Jesus: “Change your way of thinking, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” [Mt 4:17]Central and distinctive to this change/repentance is Jesus’ emphatic teaching on love.
The climax of Jesus’ six distinctives (“You’ve heard...”) is most striking. It starts with “Love your enemies” and ends with being “perfect.” Radical repentance, counter-cultural. It assumes good human love and pushes toward something more, being God’s children.
Healing – Transforming Love
Jesus stresses healthy self-love. I want my life! 2nd command –“as yourself” [Mt 22:35-40].But he’s very realistic. Self-love often distorted. We’re masters, victims, self-hating / glorifying. 1. Assume we’re broken & need healing. 2. Value God’s work / pearls.
3. Actively ask, seek, knock. 4. God loves us as a true Father his children: Gives Life.
God becomes central–God! I love myself as God’s beloved child. Center of ethical life.