Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shall We Love Our Neighbor, Yet Hate Our Enemies?

(Jesus said:) “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. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5:43-48

I'm not surprised by the hate flowing around on social media. Those who profess a love for mankind - that love is what overcomes and lifts us up - these same folks slander, spew vitriol, and condemn those who didn't support their candidate. Those who proclaim to love others - that love rules all - actively gloat over the real pain and possible despair others are feeling since their candidate didn't get elected. Hate of the neighbor is what we see.

Christ calls us to a higher, impossible task. Love your enemies.

We are called to do it.

We are called to love all, even against the desires in our hearts.

So here's some faithful advice: 

When you see the person who voted for Hillary Clinton, ask them why they voted for her. Don't gloat. Don't mock. Don't condemn. But learn. You might just find that those who voted for her aren't corrupt, naive, or wicked. You might just find there's some humanity to be loved in the person who doesn't share your political opinion.

When you see a person who voted for Donald Trump, ask them why they voted for him. Don't hate. Don't blame. Don't condemn. But learn. You might just find that those who voted for him aren't racist, misogynistic, or ignorant. You might just find that there's some humanity to be loved in the person who doesn't share your political opinion.

Of course, you will disagree! But that does not by default make the other person the scum of the Earth. Indeed, even if it did (which it doesn't) you are still called to kindness, compassion, and mercy. As Jesus said, 
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?"
If you were like me, and you found yourself thinking ill and hateful thoughts against your neighbor, repent. Turn and love even those who you may, at the moment, consider your enemy and the scum of the Earth.

For see what love the Father in heaven has for man! He sends His rain upon both the just and the unjust. His love is extended even to those who hate Him. On the cross it was not just those who loved Him that Christ died for, but for the sins of a world that hated Him. 

And why? Because our God is long-suffering that He might call us all to repentance and faith. He doesn't immediate smite the wicked, because His will is our salvation, not our condemnation.

So repent of your hate, and love all. God loves you and in Christ Jesus forgives the sins which you commit against your neighbor. 

Be long-suffering with your neighbor, as your God is long-suffering with you. Show them kindness and compassion. Seek to learn about their thoughts, their beliefs, and their understanding of the world. Seek conversation and to understand, not simply to condemn.

Truly, we need our hearts and minds turned to know the love of God for all mankind, for only then can we even begin to learn the higher calling of loving all men also. 

+Kyrie Eleison+

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