I can't count the times I've heard Christians express their frustration with non believers, constantly saying things like "I can't stand it when..." or "I just wanted to go off on them." One person even told me they had to leave the room because of the phrase that was on someones shirt. Ironically these are the same people Jesus commanded us to love. In fact if we're really walking in the foot steps of Christ we find that loving them requires serving them. Furthermore the love demonstrated by Jesus ultimately led to the giving of his life for all man kind. So when I hear people make these statements, I begin to wonder if it's something deeper than our inability to love. Perhaps our ability to love is being hindered by our inability to even tolerate those around us.
In Luke 7, Jesus is invited to a dinner party filled with people living in sin. Shockingly the portrait of Jesus in this scene looks nothing like the Jesus we often portray. It says in verse 36, When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. Meaning Jesus was comfortable being around sinners and non believers. I believe it's Jesus' ability to break through tolerance that enables him to love those he encounters.
My question is, who can't you tolerate? What person or group of people get your blood boiling? Who do you find yourself losing patience with and becoming irritated and judgmental? For I believe when Jesus commanded us to love all man kind, he was including those same people. Yet because of our inability to tolerate those people, we find ourselves handcuffed unable to love as Jesus loved.