The inhabitants of this world are divided into groupings, based on common relationships. People choose their friends according to relationships and common understanding. Christianity is now identified according to denominational identity, but this is a clear violation of Christ’s teachings. We have to consider Christ’s model, whose ideas cannot fail.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43-47 NIV).
The above Scripture needs application, but how possible can that be, in the current Christian environment? Loving one’s enemies implies removing enmity from one’s vocabulary. The Bible is clear in that Jesus fellowshipped with anyone, regardless of background. There was no one who Jesus avoided, as long as in need of His service.
He entertained fellowship with those who later crucified Him; just as He also fellowshipped with tax collectors. No one could not access the services of Jesus. In other words, Jesus provided a model of how Christians should behave in this world of sin.
He became the only person ever to live in this world, extending love to enemies. He castigated pretenders, but that did not mean He hated those pretenders. Jesus never turned away anyone who sought service from him. He satisfactorily answered questions, with answers that would become a basis of our understanding, today.
He even entertained a Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-26), against Jewish traditions. For purposes of providing a lesson on relationships, at one stage Jesus crudely interacted with a Canaanite woman in the region of Tyre and Sidon:
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment (Matthew 15:21-28 NIV).
Although some people might take Jesus as having been unkind to that Gentile woman, the opposite is true. He used those unsavory words, as aligned to the Jewish traditions, in their relationship with non-Jews, to clarify an issue, that would reveal His standpoint. In His entire teachings, Jesus never discriminated against anyone.
Even the idea of teaching in parables, hiding the secrets of God’s Kingdom, was based on love. Becoming a Christian is not a casual matter. There is no love in encouraging the raw public into Christianity. The grand decision to follow Christ requires counting the costs.