Sunday October 30, 2016 | Greg Boyd
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that...
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven....
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High...
In this third week of our Without Borders series and a week before the election we are reminded that Jesus' challenge to us in loving our enemies was designed to remind us that God has no human enemies. He has called us to be agents of peace, to find the commonality between us and to build on it. This practice will be exceedingly challenging during this election time. We are quick to blame and quick to judge. Jesus invited people on the polar opposites of the political controversy of his day to be brothers within his community of disciples.
In this third week in our Without Borders series, Greg Boyd emphasizes that the foundational call of Kingdom people is to model the self-sacrificial and enemy loving character of Jesus. The fact that Jesus teaches so explicitly on the importance of loving your enemy and that the church has historically watered down this message is of critical importance in this volatile election season in the United States.
Jesus’ teaching on the importance of loving enemies is seen most explicitly in Luke 6: 27-8, 32-33, 35-57 and 41-42. We see in these passages a close connection between loving ones enemies and avoiding living in judgment of others along with five critical components to this type of love. First, there is no exception to the command to “love your enemies” and no caveats made about whom this does NOT include. Second, the context of Jesus’ statement in the midst of Roman oppression would have provided an obvious exception to loving ones enemies if an exception were intended. Third, Jesus bases this command on the character of the Father and it is also seen in the enemy loving character of Jesus’ crucifixion. Fourth, loving enemies is noted as a defining characteristic of being a child of God and is part of a different kind of Kingdom. Fifth, Jesus understands that in the context of our present world this command will seem strange and Jesus becomes the exemplar of his own command on the cross.
Jesus could only refrain from violence and retaliation because he left all judgment to God. This contrasts to our world where judgment permeates everything and is seen in our “Me First” disease. This propensity towards judgment is the original sin of Genesis 3 where we cling to our desire be the determiner of good and evil, but without the knowledge to back up that desire.. Jesus kingdom comes into our judgmental merry-go round and says, “Get your life from me and you can hop off the judgmental merry-go round of mayhem.” We are called to be ambassadors to put on display the beauty of the Kingdom of God. This involves staying above the categorizations of the world and the typical Us vs. Them distinctive. The enemy-loving Kingdom of Jesus is one where there is an Us, but no Them; a Center, but no Borders.
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