Love Your Enemies
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” These are some of the most powerful words ever spoken. When Jesus shared these words with his followers, he set the bar pretty high for us. They are extremely difficult, but if we can try to practice them, then we take steps towards showing the Kingdom of God on earth.
I believe this teaching to love and pray for our enemies leads humanity into a place to love God and neighbor better. I put my hope in these teachings. Not just a hope for the afterlife, but a hope that somehow, someway, God redeems and heals the wounds of the world when Christians practice what Jesus taught. As I look at the brokenness of the country and the world, I sometimes get paralyzed with despair. But then I look to the teachings of Jesus and know that God has given us instructions on how to be a part of this repair.
Anytime anyone inside or outside the Christian community tries to lead Christians away from this teaching, we must resist. We resist by praying even more for our enemies. We resist by choosing to work on strained relationships. We resist by building others up instead of tearing them down. We resist the temptation to walk towards hate by walking towards Christ. Father Richard Rohr teaches that “the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” Oppositional energy only creates more of the same.
Jesus did not waver from his teaching to love his enemies and pray for them. It did not lead him to more popularity or more followers, but it led him to the cross and to a resurrection that brought healing and redemption to the world. Perhaps, if we follow the path that Jesus taught us to follow, it will lead to healing and redemption for the whole world, even those we might consider our enemies.
I hope you’ll join us this Sunday as we explore more powerful words found in the scriptures. We’ll study how words have a powerful influence on our family and find ways to offer life-giving words to those closest to us.
Sermon Podcast – Words: Tearing Down or Building Up?