Monday, Oct 16, 2017. We all have heard about the Christian command to love your enemies, right? But usually it is burried somewhere deep in our memory, and it is far away from playing an active role in our daily thought or daily life. But this provoking command formulated by Jesus has the potential to give crucial input into our life!
Offer the other …
First of all, before we discuss what Jesus says, let us listen to the words as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. It is a part of the sermon on the mount, in the version written down by Luke. Read with an open mind:
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic2 either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (from Luke 6)
Input from the Lord …
The main purpose of these lines is not to declare your complete defeat to your enemies. It does not tell you never to fight. But it tells you to take your enemy serious as a human being. It tells you to start a relationship, one of love, of understanding. It tells you to deescalate. It does not tell you to be naive or blind! On the contrary, it tells you to open your eyes.
You cannot understand the command, when you do not start to understand living as a believer, as a kid of God. Giving in means to let things go - and that is one of the basic steps you need when you come to faith. God is giving us life, he is giving us dignity, all this earth is his. So we can let go, he is the Lord, he gives, he provides, and he has made more beauty on this planet than we can ever comprehend!
When I think about my enemies, I feel more like falling ill. I feel the wish to leave and go away. Is the command touching our feelings? Or is it talking about decisions only, about action? I think it is talking about everything! And it is challenging us, to go to the Lord himself, and ask him for his spirit, for his transformation, for his presence in our life today! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts