Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus
I hope you all had a blessed week. I apologize for missing out on some days of the Lent last week, it was due to some work pressures and I was unable to write. But as we enter the second week of the Great Lent, the church asks us to concentrate on some of the deeper teachings of Jesus Christ. For today, the Gospel reading is St. Luke 6:27-36. Jesus is teaching us about loving our enemies and the topic is so huge that it would take me many days to really get into the crux of it because each and every verse in this portion is important and I will be writing on it completely in the series “Demands of Jesus”. But, for today, I will be concentrating on just this one verse…
Jesus’ asking us to love our enemies, to be merciful, to make peace, and to forgive assumes that there will always be people around us who will always to hard to love.
Jesus calls some people our “enemies”, which means they are against us. They want to see us fail. Love them, says Jesus (Matt.5:44; Luke 6:27,35).
Others may not be our personal enemies in this way, but simply people whose character or personality or condition makes them unattractive or even repulsive. Jesus says, Be merciful to them (Matt.5:7; 18:33; Luke 10:37).
Others may be our relatives or friends who have taken offense at something we have done – rightly or wrongly – and the relationship is cold or non-existent. Jesus says, Strive to be reconciled to them (Matt. 5:23-26)
Others may or may not have something against you, but you do against them. Forgive them, Jesus says (Matt. 6:14-15). Don’t let laziness or pride or anger keep you from the humble work of forgiving, peacemaking and reconciliation.
The demand of Jesus that we are to love our enemies also assumes that we WILL have enemies and that not all will be reconciled to us, not matter what we do. He shows us that having enemies is not necessarily a bad thing but may mean that we are keeping in step with him. “Blessed are you when other revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matt. 5:11). In fact, Jesus warned that is there was no persecution, it may be a sign of being more like a false prophet than like Jesus. Enmity between the world and the followers of Jesus is rooted in the truth that the world rejects Him (John 18:37) and in the deep difference Jesus makes when He changes a person (John 15:19; 17:14). Therefore we should not assume that if we have enemies we must have done something wrong. That may be true, and we should search our hearts for unnecessary offences and repent, but Jesus said very plainly that faithful disciples will have enemies.
It is remarkable that Jesus draws attention to not just severe persecution but also to mere snubbing as the kinds of enmity we must deal with. Evidently He thinks we need to be told not only to love when our life s threatened, but also to love when our ego is threatened by a mere slight. Consider the range of enmity He mentions-
We are to love those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), hate us (Luke 6:27), curse us, abuse us (Luke 6:28), strike us on the cheek, take our cloak (Luke 6:29). Those are all behaviors that would typically hurt us deeply, either physically or emotionally or both, and might kill us (Matt. 10:21; Luke 11:49). To all these behaviors we are to respond in love. Jesus says, don’t just love the person who acknowledges you and recognize you and do good things for you. Love the persecutor, and love the person who simply acts as if you are not alive.
Dear Brethren in Christ Jesus
I now stop here to let you ponder on the above words. I will most definitely explain more about this demand of Jesus to love our enemies in detail some other time. Till then, please do ponder on the what is such love? What does it look like? How much does it involve?
Your Brother in Christ Jesus