Christians emphasize the Great Commission. There is something so compelling about our faith that we believe that we should share it. No. It’s more than that. We are called to share it. Jesus instructs us to go beyond all boundaries — all borders, all limitations, all divisions — and make them learners of this way of life.
These particular passages in the Gospel of Matthew are legalistic. They ignore the complicated gray areas of life. Most of life resides in shades of gray. It’s not so easy that you can talk someone into your faith. It’s near impossible. People of faith aren’t sure what to do with each other. Christians don’t know how to understand Christians. Buddhists don’t understand Buddhists. Muslims don’t understand Muslims. With so many divisions within our own faith, there is no way that we can fully understand the faith of another. As in this first canonical gospel, we try to put people into boxes. We try to narrow them into categories so that we can find a way to understand them in the constructs we’ve created — but there are too many shades of gray. And as Jesus listened to the woman at the well, sometimes you just have to listen.
When we’re brave enough to listen, God speaks.