OCTOBER 23, 2017 Luke 6:27-42
LOVE FOR ENEMIES
MEDITATION: In 2017, it seems harder than ever to love our neighbors, let alone our enemies. It seems to me the whole country is on edge. Hurricanes and flooding, Daca and the Dreamers, Las Vegas and nuclear war, suicide and depression. Virtually everyone I know is in recovery mode, whether from natural or human-made disasters. There’s a collective anxiety and a sense of uncertainty about what tomorrow holds. People are working out their frustrations on FaceBook. Almost daily it seems, I see a post from someone “un-friending” half of their contacts because expressing our differences has turned so ugly. Even family members who were once able to “agree to disagree” have now stopped speaking to each and are drawing their lines in the sand, so to speak. Even IF it’s unintentional, the people we’re closest to can make life miserable and drain the well of love. That’s when we most need the love of Christ to replenish us. When we tap into the ridiculously extravagant love of Christ, we find a generosity to love beyond what is possible on our own strength. Jesus knows that love can be costly, but love is also a powerful antidote to all that’s wrong with the world. In N. T. Wright’s commentary, Luke for Everyone, he paraphrases Jesus’ instructions like this: Think of the best thing you can do for the worst person, and go ahead and do it. Think of what you’d really like someone to do for you, and do it for them. Think of the people to whom you are tempted to be nasty, and lavish generosity on them instead (Westminster/John Knox, 2001, p. 73). )
FOR DISCUSSION: Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies is not an invitation to accept abuse or keep silence in the face of evil. There is a time and a place when the Christian thing to do is to speak out against injustice and take a stand for what is right. What is the harder thing for you to do: love as Christ loved, or fight for the sake of Christ’s reign on earth? What helps you to love as Christ loves?
- Martin Luther King, Jr. (excerpt from his speech on loving your enemies)
- Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, Spiritual formation kit (commentary by elder, Dan Frayer-Griggs)