Embracing the enemy - Hope 103.2

Embracing the enemy

By David ReayWednesday 21 Oct 2015LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:43-47

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. (THE MESSAGE)

It is an all-too-common device among humans to divide other humans into allies and foes, friends and enemies. It is true we can’t get on equally well with everyone. It is true we may strongly disagree with another’s opinions or justly condemn their behaviour. But Jesus challenges us to overthrow this simplistic categorising.

It seems the Jewish law had been twisted so that as long as we loved our friends we could justifiably hate our enemies. Jesus will have none of this. The human world is not divided so neatly into friends and enemies. The person whose conduct I abhor or whose company I might not relish is just as much a creation of God as I am. And is as much loved as I am. My sins are, in the eyes of God, just as bad.

Each and every human stands desperately in need of the grace and mercy of God. I may have gratefully received it and my ‘enemy’ may have spurned it. But that makes me no better than them. The only thing it should do is make me more thankful. We who have been mercifully spared the just judgement of God dare not assume the role of judge. We who are recipients of the undeserved grace of God dare not deny such grace to others.

David Reay