In the Book of Esther, Haman is the ultimate villain. His pride is insatiable, his power unstoppable, and his racist hatred of the Jews murderous. In other words, he is easy to hate and feel superior to. And yet this is just the attitude Jesus came to challenge. Jesus affirms that it is ‘natural’ to love the lovable and hate the Hamans, but that to be a true child of God means to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44). Dr. King addressed this very issue in his sermon Loving Your Enemies, in which he wrote:
“Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of our Christ, is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security. Napoleon Bonaparte, the great military genius, looking back over his years of conquest, is reported to have said: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend? They depended on force. But centuries ago Jesus started an empire that was built on love, and even to this day millions will die for him.”– Found in Dr. King’s book of sermons: “Strength to Love”
If you are like me, you struggle with loving those in your life who are loveable, let alone those who rub you the wrong way. Jesus knew that our tendencies of self-righteousness would make us resistant to this teaching, which is why the only power to change us is the power of his death, in which we were liberated through the Spirit to become more like Christ as we reflect on his love for us, his enemies who sent him to the cross.
“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, 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
P.S. For a great overview of the Book of Esther click here.
Learn & Connect
If you’re new at Redeemer West Side, this is the place to get to know us and learn how to take the next step. We’ll talk about our vision, values, and history, and introduce you to our various ministries so you know how to get better connected. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some of our staff, lay leaders, and others new to the church.
- Jan 16 | MLK Day Rally with Pray March Act
- Jan 26 | West Side Youth Partners 2023 Kickoff Social
- Jan 26 | Serve food at the Frederick Douglass Houses
- Jan 29 | Spaghetti Sunday
- Jan 30 | RCS Calming Your Anxious Mind