I would much rather stay in my safe comfort zone than attempt to walk any where near the border of love and hate. I’d rather dwell with those I know and agree with.

I wouldn’t come out of the gate and say that I have enemies.  But I think I have people – individuals or groups – that I try to avoid and keep my distance from.  I’m pretty sure that there are people who try to keep their distance from me too.

It must be safe to say that we all have that in our lives.  We don’t agree with everybody.  We don’t support everybody.  We don’t like everybody. It’s just the way things go.

Sometimes creating a distance feels like the wise thing to do or the best thing to do or the godliest thing to do.  Or maybe that’s what we tell ourselves.  It definitely can be the safest thing to do FOR ME.

But then I kept plowing through on my slow reading of Luke and arrived at chapter 17:11-19.  Ugh.

First, let’s look at verse 11:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.”

Doesn’t sound like much, does it?  I try to avoid commentaries and teachings and just see what God shows me.  With this verse, though, I don’t know the details but I am aware that Samaritans were not friends with the Jews.  Enemies actually.  I can’t tell you why but that doesn’t matter.

Do you see what Jesus did? 

He travelled along the border between enemies and friends.  Between love and hate.  Between enemy territory and home.  He didn’t avoid it.  He stayed close to both.  Gave both of them equal opportunity to encounter Him.  

How often I decide it is better to travel well on the inside of my safe territory…don’t risk getting too close to people not like me; people who don’t live like me; maybe even people threatening my way of life.  

Yes, if I travelled closer to the border, there would be equal opportunity for both sides to encounter Jesus in me.  But I choose to stay in the heart of ‘safety’ and just hope they hear the message from the grapevine between me and them.  

I think God wants us to walk the parameters.  He can work with both but He definitely wants us to venture out.  

along the border

“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’

When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.”  (Luke 11:12-14)

See that?  Jesus can work with distance too.  Those lepers stayed far enough away from him and he still saw them and heard them and healed them.  Jesus was far-sighted and near-sighted.

But then look at what happens next.

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.”     (Luke 11:15-16)

One.  Just one came back to thank and praise Jesus when he realized what had happened.  AND in a loud voice – no shame.  No shame because of his past or who he was or where he came from.

He was the enemy.  He was the one who was not ‘supposed to be’ nice to Jesus.  But do you know what happened?

Love erased the borders. 

Maybe that’s why Jesus walked along them. 

They were erased with steps of love.

border love hate

In real life, there are no tangible borders on the earth.  There isn’t a huge crevice all along the border between Canada and the U.S.A. to show they are separate.  It is imagined, created, and stated.  But one piece of land flows right into the next regardless of the existence of borders.

I think it is the same in my world.  I have imagined, created and stated that there are borders between me and certain people.  But there is no real crevice to separate us.  My humanness flows right into their humanness, regardless of my created borders.  

There’s one more beautiful thing to see here.

“‘Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him,

‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”

(Luke 11:18-19)

The one who “shouldn’t” have was the only one that did.

The one that “shouldn’t” have was the most grateful for a grace he didn’t deserve.

God saved this one.  The one who was changed.

Where do you have borders?  Do you know why you have created them?  What are your borders protecting you from?  

I think I sometimes avoid people because I disagree with them but Jesus didn’t avoid people he disagreed with.  He got right in there. He loved them.

It’s going to be super hard…for both of us.  But can we take steps today?  Steps a little closer to the border between us and “others”? Steps of love?

You never know
who will end up
thanking and praising
because of it. 
Heck, it may even be you.
border love hate

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