Friday, August 27, 2010

A Ridiculous Command: Love Your Enemies

This week,  I'm preaching the second part of last week's message about Jesus' teaching to "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies."  Luke's version of Jesus' teaching says this,
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Luke 6:27-28
It's really a crazy idea that we're supposed to pray for and bless those we start out hating.  Seriously, how often do we do it?  It's so unnatural for us on one level, yet there is a rightness to it that stirs something in our souls.  "Yes," says that something inside, "the world won't be a different, lovelier place, without forgiveness and love replacing anger and retaliation."  

But how?  All it takes is a car to cut me off in traffic and poof, something dark springs to life in me.  I want justice (!) or, honestly, revenge.  If that's a somewhat typical reaction to being less-than-marginally wronged, much less truly hurt, what hope do I have of loving an actual enemy?  

Jesus' words there in Luke 6 are more than a simple restatement of "love your enemies;" he's telling us how to do it.  And here's what he says about those good for nothing, evil enemies we encounter in life: Do good to them; bless them; pray for them.  Just try doing these actions, even when you don't feel like it at all, and see what happens.  We'll dig into what these terribly hard actions might mean for us personally on Sunday in worship.  

For those of you who know little 7 yr old Daniel in our church, please keep praying for him.  His surgery went okay, but he's healing very slowly and he's had some setbacks.  He's quite miserable and in a lot of pain, but he needs to move more and breath deeply in order to heal.  Pray for Joyce and Dennis too, as their hearts ache for Daniel in this process. 
- Curtis