|(911 Museum, Ground Zero, New York City)|
This morning at Redeemer I am teaching kids as Tim (thank you!) is leading the worship event and preaching. I'm teaching our second - fifth graders two things: 1) how to receive forgiveness from God; and 2) how to forgive others when they do wrong to you.
Love forgives others. This is love. This is huge!
Here's what usually happens (payback; revenge; retaliation; hitting back; "getting even").
Someone posts something on social media that is hateful towards you. They call you derogatory names. So, you hate them back, calling them even more powerful hate-names. You tell them how stupid they are. And worse.
1. Someone throws hate language at you.
2. You respond by throwing hate language back at them.
You respond to "power over" by exerting power over them.
I am crucified, therefore I crucify in return.
I am persecuted, therefore I persecute in return.
I am rejected. Therefore, I reject in return.
I am hurt. Therefore, I hurt in return. Because hurt people hurt people.
You wound me. I wound you.
And Social Darwinism is verified, over and over again and again.
But in history there was one who, when he was hurt, loved in return; when he was despised, understood in return; when he was rejected, accepted in return; when he was uninvited, invited in return; when he was tortured, forgave in return; when you went astray, he waited for you to return.
Craig Keener writes: "The law limited revenge to legal retribution in kind—an eye for an eye, for example. By contrast, Jesus goes beyond this by doing away with revenge; one should love the other person more than one’s honor or even basic possessions (5:38–42). The law enjoins love of neighbor; Jesus enjoins love of enemies (5:43–47)." (Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost, p. 213)
My brothers and sisters, you nonbelievers and nones, and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Jews: Shall we try loving when we have been hurt instead of hurting when we have not been loved?