The way of love may well be easier than we are led to believe, but learning to internalize love is not so easy. Jesus said “the gate is narrow and the road hard, and few take it.” It’s this kind of work, the rewiring of our interior lives, that he’s talking about. To use the language of faith, this hard road of rewiring is the path of salvation.
If the Jesus story is right, it will require death to something we’ve long cherished, even if it makes us miserable–our fear of being hurt. We’ve internalized the way of suspicion, fear, and withholding. That internalization is part of what the Bible calls sin---the deep internalizing or identification with ways that alienate us from God and each other. Sin may be more than that, but it’s certainly not less.
Discipleship is not merely assenting to doctrines–-thoughts about God. It’s about the internalization of a w/holy different way of life–-the identification of our lives with Another. It is putting off the “old self” and “putting on the new” in St. Paul’s language.
True Jesus said the gate is narrow and the way hard, for “putting on this new life” means that we’re taking a road less traveled, we’re swimming against the current.
But Jesus also said, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me; my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Identification with love, internalizing the way of truthfulness and life, is an easy way when we’ve done the hard work of dis-identifying ourselves with ways that are wrecking us and the life of our world.
Dis-identifying, or turning around and walking the other direction will be hard at first. But when we’ve walked for a while time against the crowd we'll find they’re actually on a hard, hard climb while we’re on a gentle slope downhill.