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Who are your enemies?

This sounds really crazy right!

And I’m not sure that other sports teams count. 

As a lifelong Bills fan, I was never fond of the Jets, the Patriots or the Miami Dolphins! You know, “squish the fish”.

But I’m thinking Jesus is thinking a good bit beyond crosstown football rivalries. I mean he says, “bless folks who curse you”. That doesn’t really sound like a football rivalry. Well, maybe.

But we do live in a time and place where social media makes clear that at least some of us have perceived enemies. 

Take your pick of politicians. Maybe Tommy Tuberville or AOC. 

We, most of us, would say we don’t have enemies. 

We aren’t planning to do in anyone. 

We don’t have a hit list as it were.

None-the-less, some people I know and love say the most amazing, angry and hurtful things online.
And they say them with no seeming realization that some people are looking at their angry words and shaking their heads.

Where is the person I know and love? How could they say those things without realizing how hurtful they are?

Thet write, it seems without any sense that others see their words and know that evidently these beloved folks have mortal enemies.

Anger, conspiracy theories, the labeling of others, name calling, all is evidence that a whole lot of us have enemies, that a lot of us are angry.

Where is that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, the fruit of the spirit the scripture’s talk about.

That’s not to suggest that there aren’t real differences of opinions about a whole lot of things. There are.

What seems to have changed is that some of us who day by day appear to be pretty happy, living out the joy of the Lord, are absolutely livid online and doing our best not only to make enemies, but to be one.

You see Jesus knew about enemies. 

And best I can tell from the scripture it wasn’t because he was actively looking for ways to make people angry. 

Rather it seems he made people angry by loving people he wasn’t supposed to love.

Tax-collectors and sinners.

And he healed people he wasn’t supposed to heal.

Lepers and dead people…

Those who suffered with physical deformities…

And those who were possessed by demons.

You understand the problem! 

Having Jesus acting all like God might mean that instead of people giving their loyalty to politicians and religious leaders, the people might instead transfer their loyalty to the one who healed them and accepted them.

They were afraid of Jesus.

But for reasons that defy understanding they weren’t afraid of God. 

Evidently, they assumed God wouldn’t do those things.

So, Jesus was the enemy. And Jesus chose to love them.

And told us to love our enemies as well.

Because he assumed we would have enemies for exactly the very same reason, loving and healing people that our culture wants to hate.

So hated on, we were to instead of responding with anger and hate…

To love those, we might consider unlovable.

I agree with you that this passage is wildly hard! To do this requires making sacrifices that are just too difficult!

Like offering to die on a cross hard.
Jesus said, “Treat others just as you want to be treated”.
Not just the folks who are easy to love…
But also, those who it is impossible to love.
Like Patriot’s fans. Just saying.