Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Today we say “Yes” to Enemies and “No” to Hate. As we approach Easter, it is important that we try and clear our dirty plates from the table. It’s rather difficult to celebrate our spiritual freedom when we are trying to carry around the things that Jesus has removed. One of the most prominent bags we carry is the Hatred we have for our Enemies.
A good Christian might say, “I don’t Hate my Enemies”. Who are we kidding? We avoid our Enemies like a cat avoids swimming pools. We’ll go far out of our way to make sure we don’t have to confront them, and we may even justify our avoidance by telling ourselves that God wants it that way. In some cases, this is true. But in most cases, God would prefer that we reconcile with them (More on that one in tomorrow’s Challenge.).
Whether we like it or not, all of us are probably going to get crosswise with someone. Even if we don’t Hate them, our dislike for them (or their dislike for us) puts us on opposite sides of one another. Thus, we have Enemies. It’s no surprise that Jesus addresses this topic early in his ministry. Jesus states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and Hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43-44, NRSV).
What does this entail? What do we include in these prayers? Do we pray for our Enemies to finally get what’s coming to them, or should we pray for them to hit the lottery and move to the land far, far away? According to Jesus, neither of these prayers would qualify as helpful (or Biblical). Rather, Jesus wants us to love each other so much that we pray for the well-being and salvation of our Enemies, despite what they might say or do.
Don’t be dismayed and push this Challenge to the side. This is important. We need to put our Hatred of each other aside and learn how to love our Enemies the same way that Christ loves both them and us. Keep in mind that some of Jesus’ last words included a prayer for those who were responsible for his death.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34, NRSV).
Today, put away the Hatred, disregard, and disdain we have for our Enemies. Instead, pray for God’s blessings upon them. Say “Yes” to our Enemies and “No” to “Hate!”