MONDAY MEDITATION: What We Do with Enemies (March 25)

Let those who want me dead be humiliated and put to shame. Let those who intend to hurt me be thoroughly frustrated and disgraced. Let them be like dust on the wind–and let the Lord’s messenger be the one who does the blowing! — Psalm 35:4-6

Probably if we were honest, the above words from a psalmist describe how we naturally feel about those who intentionally hurt us. It’s the eye-for-an-eye thing. We want those who’ve caused us pain to feel that same pain; it’s only fair.

This is also the way the world works, isn’t it? We respond to force with force. Hamas invades Israel, Israel invades Gaza. The cycle goes back to when Og’s tribe crossed the boundary of Dag’s tribe in the Stone Age.

That’s why Jesus stunned the people of his time and mystifies us today. Love your enemies. Pray for them. Do good for them. He’s saying that this is the way the world must work or it will destroy itself. People must relate to each other the way God intended or else there is no hope.

Ideally the church is the group that reflects that ideal. If we follow Jesus, we take his teachings seriously, starting with the persons “who want me dead.” The surest sign of a Christian is breaking the violence of the world with the love Jesus embodied: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” How else will his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven?

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