God the great and powerful (and warm and wonderful)
Thu Dec 05, 2013
by Marsha Michaelis
The top 5 posts of November
Wed Dec 04, 2013
5 reasons to open your blinds
Tue Dec 03, 2013
by Andrew Lisi
6 simple ways to write better blog posts
Mon Dec 02, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Joy in service
Sat Nov 30, 2013
by Andrew Weiseth
Love Your Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:43–46
The announcement hit last night that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a firefight in Pakistan. The news reports cycle between commentary, stock Bin Laden footage, and celebrating Americans. While celebrating may feel like the right thing to do, as Christians we should consider how we relate to the death of evildoers.
Osama Bin Laden deserves death and eternal damnation. And so do you.
The recent headline news has huge political and global implications. Clearly, there is room for discussion for how Romans 12 & 13 applies to the situation. There are also emotional responses coming from millions and millions of individual human hearts. That is what we want to address here.
So in light of Matthew 5:21–22, Christians do well to realize we are more murderous and hateful like Osama than we are perfect and holy like God. All of us are guilty of cosmic treason against God and sin against our neighbor. But because of the work of Christ, God has radical mercy on his enemies who repent.
Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:43–46 is shocking in its radical expectations. We are already guilty of violating the law to love God and love our neighbor. How much more do we fail Jesus’ radical call to love our enemy? This should drive us to repentance. And when we repent, God always gives forgiveness and grace.
Therefore, part of our response should be thankfulness at the mercy given at the cross where Jesus died a murderer’s death in our place.
Sermon on the Mount
Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount to Jews who had seen more oppression than modern Americans can even begin to imagine. Thirty years prior, the king had commanded the execution of everyone’s first-born son. Jesus called them to love those people.
How is it possible that God commanded them to love those genocidal maniacs?
We can be thankful that God is just, and we can be very thankful that God is gracious.
Vengeance or Justice?
Examine yourself, and ask, “Am I looking for vengeance? Or am I thankful for justice?” The two may seem similar on the surface, but at the heart level they are at odds with one another. Vengeance is contrary to the gospel.
So, we can be thankful that God is just, and we can be very thankful that God is gracious.
The Tension & Response
The appropriate Christian response lives in the tension of these verses:
Proverbs 11:10 - “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.”
Proverbs 24:17 - “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, & let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.”
These verses elicit mixed emotions: joy at justice enacted and sorrow at the reality of destruction. The relief that accompanies the news of Osama’s death should be without vengeance (Deut. 32:35) and tempered with regret at the death of any image-bearer of God.
Note: Posters done by Mike Anderson on Valentine's Day 2005