Monday, October 15, 2018

The Cure for the World is Spiritual

Wildflower in my front yard

I am praying to have a heart of love for my enemies, for those who are against me, for those seeking to hurt me. If I possessed this, I wouldn't be praying to have it.


“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.

Jesus, Matthew 5:43-48

The only hope for humanity is transformation of the human heart, person by person, into greater and greater Christlikeness. Should this happen, then transformed persons would love, not shoot, their enemies. 

A changed person would die for their enemies. While the Isis-message is "Die for God," the Christian message is "God died for us." This sounds as revolutionary and radical today as when Jesus spoke it two thousand years ago.

The solution for this world's violence is... more violence? Really? Violence has never worked in human history to make peace (because conquering violence always creates more enemies in its aftermath).

Both large scale and small scale violence is impotent to create genuine peace, a peace that has captured hearts. 

I've worked with countless marriages, families, and relationships, and seen the post-war carnage.  Violence that "wins" creates captives longing for retribution. Violence and hatred breed more violence and hatred.

Technology, for all its benefits, is no intrinsic peacemaker,  since by it the means of war are increased. Thomas Merton writes: "No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer." (Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, 13) "The only cure is, and must always be," said Merton, "spiritual."

The cure for the world is spiritual. Not political. Not economic. It concerns the "Us vs. Them" condition of the fallen human heart. 

When Jesus increases in us, hatred of them decreases.

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Leading the Presence-Driven Church