Sunday, May 31, 2015

Matthew 7:13-14 (NRSV): The Narrow Gate and Loving our Neighbor

Matthew 7:13-14 (NRSV): The Narrow Gate
‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Have you ever wondered about the narrowness of the gate? Daily, I find myself thinking about this same question.  How narrow is the gate “that leads to life”? It is not about the narrowness of the gate so much as my willingness to seek its narrowness.  For every time I try to estimate its narrowness, I calculate my works, what I must do to earn God’s love and admittance through the gate. But it is not about our striving to earn; it is about our willingness to receive, repent, and reconcile.  
As Paul states in Romans 3:23, we are all unable to earn our eternal inheritance, for “...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus, however, does not let us off that easy, for he states, “The road is hard...and...few find it.” It is easy to simply give ourselves to Christ and accept his loving, merciful grace, but the loving obedience that accompanies discipleship can be both the rewarding and “hard road that leads to life.” 
Faith in Christ is the foundation and structure of the free gift of God’s grace and salvation, but we must love, too. And love, especially when it applies to difficult relationships, is anything but easy. As we begin to wind down into the warm days of summer, let us remember, in faith, to love all people we encounter daily, especially the people who remind us of that hard road.