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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Loving our Enemies

"Jesus said to his disciples: “'To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.'" Lk 6:27

The command of Jesus to love our enemies was not a theoretical challenge to the earliest community of disciples. It was a visceral and demanding trial. When we read the Gospels it becomes very clear that Jesus' message is upsetting to the Jewish leaders who very much wanted both to pacify their Roman rulers and control the behavior of everyday Jews. Concerned that they would lose their moral authority to Jesus and his band of fisherman and shepherds, the Scribes and Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up at every turn, and while some of the disciples wanted Jesus to fight, the Lord acted like any Rabbi, debating with his protagonists but loving them all the while.

How to offer people and institutions a critique of their ideas without criticizing them personally is an important and difficult task, especially for Christians. While we have core values about which there is little debate, there is and ought to be healthy conversation about how to proclaim these values is a world obsessed with instant communication. From texting to Instagram and so much more in between, we need to learn how to say and live what we believe without angry and dismissive pronouncements. Christians on the right and the left can be fiercely judgmental when upset by another's opinion and perspective. Nonetheless, Jesus' command to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us prevails and remains the heart of the Good News.

Today,  pause before you respond to someone with whom you disagree.

How do you understand Jesus' challenge to love your enemies?

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