Josh j Smith

Lent, Tuesday,3/22: love your enemies ii
March 22, 2011, 8:40 pm
Filed under: religion | Tags: ,


7″But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32( “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6.27-36

This is the most radical message of the Gospel. Yet, the most neglected value in the American church. I am brainwashed with the message of my culture that says “it is my rite to…” And when my rites are not honored you are an enemy of mine. Therefore, my rites as an American often trump the call of God’s Kingdom. I am shameful for myself and the American church.

I quickly realized that the phrase “Love your enemies” is cliche. I immediately dismiss the enemies that are close to me and pray only for distant enemies (i.e. al-Qaeda). Enemies that need prayer but are a safe distance from interrupting my agenda. But Jesus gets specific in this conversation – there are no social rites when it comes to loving your enemy. We are not called to only love our enemy when it is convenient.

Co-workers, managers, customers, cashiers at the store, the ebay person who sold me broken goods, employees, neighbors, children, spouses, siblings, and parents all can be enemies. The frightening truth is that I usually do not realize it. I am very quick to notice the problem in them and begin to strategize a plan to neutralize them because they have threatened me in some way. It could be as big as someone mistreating my wife or kids, or something as little as screwing up my sandwich. Either issue, shamefully, forces me to embrace my inner viking rather than the Holy Spirit.

Everyday we are facing our enemies, and Jesus says to love them. Not to pretend to love them, but to love them from the deepest part of our being. To be concerned for their rites even if they are abusing our rites. To be concerned for their welfare even though they might be stealing ours (no pun intended using the word “welfare”). To be concerned for their need to have to humiliate us instead of retaliating or winning even though we could take them.

How can Providence Community love our enemies?
Who would be considered an enemy in our country that we could attempt to love unconditionally?
Who would be an enemy in our immediate area that we could mission together to love?


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