A woman on Facebook blasted me recently when I added adulterers below a graphic of the various kinds of people Jesus expects us to love. She asked me who I was to try to tell the world what the gospel says, given that I'm not a pastor who committed their life to the teachings of Jesus. She also demanded that if my wife was having an affair with a neighbor, I'd tell another story.
Adultery is unfortunately widespread, even within Christian communities, and so I figured I'd share my response here.
Who am I to proclaim that God wants us to love our adulterous neighbor? A simple disciple. A studier of scripture. A proclaimer of the good news. A follower of Jesus' example. I -have- committed my life to the teachings of our Lord Jesus.
Jesus stood in front of a circle of angry men who were ready to stone an adulterer and asked them questions which made them walk away. He loved that woman. He loves the adulterers who take their woundings and their brokenness out into the world and into places and relationships in ways they shouldn't. He loves the men who sit in front of screens glowing with disconnected sex every week and then show up in church pews on Sundays. He loves the women who's hearts are lonely and hurting and who fantasize about a dream man who could help them feel better. He loves them, and he loves you and I in all our failings and in all the ways we don't honor the ideal of marriage, and he wants our love to reflect his.
If my wife was having an affair with someone, I would still love her, and I would still be --called-- to love her, --and-- my neighbor. I'd be mad as hell, but still called to love.
Jesus tells us there is no credit in loving when it's easy. Let's all keep trying to do the hard work of love.