We all agree that love is a virtue that, when exercised, makes life better because it makes relationships better. Yesterday we explored Jesus’ seemingly impossible command to be perfect as God is perfect. Instead of aggressively protecting our own rights and interests (eye for an eye), followers of Jesus are to treat others in a way that one writer defined as ‘disinterested.’ In other words, we don’t respond to others based on their treatment of us, or based on their character, but are governed by God’s love for us.
Why is that important? Because in a culture that at times seems hopelessly divided, incapable of holding a shared vocabulary for what a flourishing community looks like, and one that insists on labeling those with whom we disagree as enemies, Jesus’ admonition for his followers to love our enemies seems like the most hopeful and realistic way forward. Otherwise we are caught in a cycle where eventually we all end up blind. As Hannah Arendt put it in her book ‘The Human Condition’, when we use vengeance and retaliation as a first response to an original trespass:
Instead of putting an end to the consequences of the first misdeed, … (it) permits the chain reaction contained in every action to take its unhindered course – in which the doer and sufferer are caught in a process which need never come to an end.
Jesus’ words from the cross, “forgive them,” are the only for solution for ending that chain reaction. His love of us, his natural born enemies, brought new life into the world, one that his followers are called to live out in our daily lives. So as you begin another week, stop and pray for that one person in your life that you harbor ill will towards, and ask Jesus to help you forgive and love them. For love covers a multitude of sins, which is why it is the answer to the deepest questions we have.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48
Please attend the congregational meeting where members will respond to David Bisgrove’s request to retire by releasing his call from Redeemer West Side pending an effective date, receive details about the search process and ways in which the congregation will be invited to participate, and elect a pastoral search committee made up of members of the Session and members of the congregation.
- Oct 11 | Kids Community Group is Back
- Oct 11 | Trust Recovery Support Group
- Oct 11 | Cultivating Marriage
- Oct 14 | Premarital Seminar
- Oct 16 | Faith & Work 101
- Oct 17 | Emotional Strength & Peace
- Oct 19 | Reformed Theological Seminary Open House
- Oct 20 | Live@W83 featuring pianist Chelsea Guo
- Oct 25 | Prayer: Putting It Into Practice
- Oct 26 | Gender: Goodness in God’s Design