Saturday, March 27, 2010

Love for Enemies?

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:27-36)

I was having a heated discussion at my home and the subject came up about "Thou shall not kill". What does that mean? I take it to mean all killing, but my companions looked at it differently. Killing is OK if you are defending yourself; killing is OK if you are fighting in a "just war";
killing is OK to protect your family; killing is OK to defend our country; killing is OK if it is to protect your possessions.
So, if that is all true, why aren't those codicils in parentheses after the commandment. Is it possible that there is no time that is acceptable for killing? Is that what the law was written for? Jesus went further and discussed the killing of the spirit in a person being against God's will. Did he really mean all that, or is it OK to protect the "good" people by killing the bad? And who are the good among us and who are the bad? Sometimes the lines are very fuzzy between good and bad.
Let's think about this. How did Jesus demonstrate an answer to this question? Did he bring down destruction to those who were determined to kill him? Did he wipe them off of the face of the earth, never to be seen again? I didn't see that in the Gospel. Wouldn't that type of action make Jesus just like us? And what does it say about the "Kingdom of God"? Jesus let himself be killed for his belief and for his Father's Kingdom to be understood. They killed him, but he did not stay dead. He
rose and proved something to those who hated and killed him. He proved that God has power over death. He proved that the kingdom did not have to operate like our human kingdoms. When it looked as if he had failed in his mission, he rose from the dead bringing hope to all those who followed him then and now. We don't have to kill to win. The enemies of God will eventually lose because they cannot withstand the power of God.
Not only did Jesus preach goodness and love, he practiced it and also demonstrated that God's Kingdom is the kingdom that will ultimately triumph
over all kingdoms of earth. We should not be afraid to love our enemies; they really need God's love and help. If we stand with Jesus, and die with Jesus, we will also rise with Jesus.
Think about it.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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