Love Your Neighbor. Love Your Enemies. Love Your Mama.
I am currently preaching through a sermon series from the Gospel of Luke. On a recent read-thru, I noticed that Jesus is reckless in this Gospel. Luke paints a picture of Jesus that is both tender and direct. Most of us miss it because we get all caught up in chapter two and baby Jesus all cute and chubby-cheeked. But then Jesus grows up.
But then Jesus grows up
By the time we wander over to chapter six, Jesus is laying down some new grounds rules. And we read some of the most quoted words of Jesus.
Love your enemies…Do not judge…Do unto others…
We whip these phrases around like its nobody’s business. But do we really stop to ponder what Jesus is truly saying?
Jesus bolts straight out of the gate with “love your enemies”. Forget your neighbor or your mama. He doesn’t address these issues until chapter fifteen! Here it is. If we can get the “love your enemy” part right, then the rest is easy. If you could do this, then you would be winning at life far beyond 80% of the rest of the Christians in our country
I think I heard a few Amens.
I will tell you that these are the most difficult words of Jesus to live out. Let’s read it again.
- Love your ENEMIES
- Love YOUR enemies
- LOVE your enemies
Not your friend. Not your neighbor’s enemy. Love, not tolerate.
The. Hardest. Words.
Who are your enemies? Is there hatred in your heart toward a person or group of people? Then Jesus wants you to start there.
What about your enemies? Not the people that your coworker hates, but the ones you hate. Do you have trouble loving them? I don’t mean tolerating their presence. I mean, are you able to be nice to them? Are you able to sit at the table and dine with them? Do you pray for them?
Jesus wants us to treat them…the ones we call enemies…to treat them the same way we would want to be treated. Hmm. I’m still working on it, too.
What if we start here?
Let’s identify one of our enemies. Then let’s ask God how we could do good to those who hurt us. If you’re brave enough to start there, then let’s ask God to help us pray for them.
We are disciples. Most of us are asleep in a recliner of Christianity. Today we can start this journey with Jesus. It is most certainly hard. But it is most certainly the better way.
No one ever became poor by giving. – Anne Frank