loving our enemies

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
 has turned against me.

It is countercultural, indeed counter-human in most people’s book to love one’s enemies. And all the more so with the kind of love Jesus calls for. A love which prays for them, and does good to them. It is all the more harder when those who have been friends turn their backs on you and treat you as evil. As one who is not worthy of their friendship any longer, and as one who really is not a part of the community of faith.

What is one to do then? The way of Jesus is the only way for us who are in him, whatever we face in all the good, the bad and the ugly of this life. We are to take up the way of the cross, of death in Jesus, that we might know nothing less than his life. In the particular matter and in all of life.

On the cross Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. I think it is safe to say that sin blinds people so that they don’t know what they’re doing when they sin, us in Jesus included. And so, though I tend to think the prayer was with reference to what had just happened, the Roman soldiers nailing Jesus to the cross, I believe it’s an appropriate prayer for all who wrong us. Indeed we are commanded to forgive in our hearts, regardless. And we are commanded to pray for our enemies. We have no choice in the matter. Christianity that picks and chooses is something less than the faith that is in Jesus. Though we need to hold up the mirror of God’s word to ourselves to find out where we are not doing so well.

And so we seek to live closer to Jesus, even in the fellowship of, yes participation in his sufferings, becoming like him somehow, in his death. Which means we must love, rather than lash out. In public as well as in private in our prayers. Together in Jesus for the world.

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