June 17, 2019
The small town of Georgetown, Delaware, has a festival called Return Day that began in the late 1700’s. It is held two days after Election Day every year and the Republican and Democrat representative appear on stage together and bury a ceremonial hatchet in a box of sand. The idea is that the politics is over and no matter the outcome, there are no bad feelings going forward. The ceremony is followed by a carriage ride and ox roast- a party to give a chance for people to share a meal and have fellowship with the ‘opposition.’
NIV Luke 6:27-36 [Jesus said,] “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Jesus is saying something totally radical compared to the standard behavior of that day as well as today. He is not condoning evil and bad conduct, rather He is saying that you need to love, do good things for, bless, pray for, give to, and be merciful to your enemy, your opponent. Why? God is kind and so should you be. You need to imitate God and be the one to help your enemy, your opponent become what God wants them to be. You can be the instrument God uses to help bring out God’s best in them.
Selfless love is demonstrated, not just talked about. It goes beyond the ‘Golden Rule.’ It was this kind of selfless love that sent Jesus to the cross to die for His enemies. Perhaps the least I can do today is to obey His words and try to imitate Him with my family, friends and foes.
NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
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