“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
Matthew 5:43-47 The Message
Notice another thing about this passage. Jesus says we are familiar with the old written law and an unwritten one as well. He challenges the unwritten law. This is also our work. We must be about challenging the unwritten laws that drive us.
One of the unwritten laws that is prevalent in our world is this tendency to lump people into judgmental categories. Democrats call Republicans names and assume things about them because of their voting record and Republicans call Democrats names and assume things about them because of their voting record. We talk about folks of different ethnicities, different religious beliefs, even different accents as if we know their motivations, beliefs, and limitations. Our prejudices are written on our heart in invisible ink and we remain unconscious of how these unwritten laws inspire us to violate the actual law we believe in ourselves — love one another.
A great spiritual discipline is to remain curious about others without judgment and clear about ourselves — our limitations, the way we hate, the things we do not know….in this way we fulfill the law of God as interpreted through Jesus.