Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pray for Mercy to Love Enemies (PrayerLife)

South Michigan, west of Adrian
One of the most radical things Jesus ever said was that we are to love our enemies. In Luke 6:35 Jesus says, "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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Jesus didn't just say this, he lived it. This is so off-the-charts that we trivialize it easily by asking "What Would Jesus Do?" as if merely answering the question will empower us in doing what Jesus did.

These words of Jesus drop me to my knees. I am not Him. I am far from Him. I am a Christ-follower; I am not enough like the Christ.

Try this. Soon, if not now, someone will hate you. Their hatred will be personal. Personal hatred towards you = your enemy. They will speak, maybe act, against you. They will crucify you with thoughts, words, and actions. They will mobilize an internet army to attack you. They don't like you and they are out to reify this; viz., to demonstrate that their hatred of you is not some mere abstraction.

Now think of this enemy and love them. From your heart. As you hang on the cross let words of compassion flow. God, forgive them, for they don;t know what they are doing. As I think about this I can hardly believe it is true.

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, writes of this: "We must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves - to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him or saying he is nice when he is not."

How radical is this? If we all lived this the planet would be revolutionized.

Meanwhile I am in trouble, for I get irritated with people who are not even my enemies. I have a heart problem. Wrap my heart with WWJD bracelets... 

Pray "God, be merciful to me... be merciful to us..."