Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Thin Line - March 29, 2011
Matthew 5:43-47 (New International Reader's Version)
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor.—(Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.' 44 But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. 45 Then you will be sons of your Father who is in heaven".
"He causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don't".
46 "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Even the tax collectors do that. 47 If you greet only your own people, what more are you doing than others? Even people who are ungodly do that."
We are engaged in a struggle these days with those that would choose to harm us. To many in this world, we are seen as evil while in our own eyes we see ourselves as being good. Why is that so? What has happened where once we were the force for good for many and lately it is not so?
I would submit that there has been a coarsening of our behavior towards others and their cultures, and because many hearts have grown "calloused" and the behavior that many exhibit would be foreign to the way we used to be as a country. This is in large part because of our own arrogance and pride. We no longer respect God or others.
There is a thin line between protecting the interests of our country and taking advantage of a situation for our own evil. Jesus saw this plainly in how the Jews once treated non-Jews. It was a common practice during his time to marginalize and hate those who were unlike them, but to Jesus all were God's children. He came for all and not just for the few.
I am concerned these days that because of fear, we are failing to engage people as Christ called us to. As believers we are to set the different example; we are called to make a difference. Just as many are, I get concerned about those who would choose to do us harm, but what if instead I embraced them in Christ-like love? What is we would be the country that reached out to its enemies and offered them our help and care?
Seems naive when you think about it, but the greatest example of Jesus Christ are those who choose to stop the evil by offering an example of love. I have read many stories of Christians in oppressed countries changing the behaivor of their oppressors through this Christ-like example. Why not follow that example?
We might not be called to be persecuted and oppressed, but in every area of our lives there are examples where we must embrace those who would choose to do us harm. If you are faced with such a situation, why not try following the good example of Jesus and show love to your enemies?
Photo "Afghanistan" by Yanboechat, 8-6-2007, from stock.xchng