Based on Biblical Text Matthew 5:44
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
As Christians we are called to change our community and move those around us to change if we wish to survive. Taking the path of further resistance or increased confrontation only brings us dangerously closer to our imminent meeting with disaster.
Disaster is close at hand however the good news is that so are the opportunities to avoid it. Our first task is to recognize our errors and then boldly take steps to commit to the massive change we will need to make. The change begins in and with ourselves. Once we have changed our own way of thinking we are then able to join with others in an attempt to compromise for the greater good.
Jesus charges us to “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” Obviously we may not agree with everything brought to the negotiation however we must prayerfully arrive at a compromise. It is imperative that we put aside our personal prejudices and objectively consider what is good for all involved. This process, of course, may result in the majority ruling contrary to our own personal feelings. If we are gathered to contemplate the good for all then we must trust that what comes out as a result of our deliberation is what’s best and will serve to do the most good.
We will find that not all will be satisfied with anything decided. Our prayerful deliberation is in no way a guaranteed pathway to mending every fence. However, compromise is a step toward easing the tension that would otherwise make it impossible to even consider reconciliation. Abraham Lincoln asked, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” However, compromise may at the very least cause a cease fire long enough to negotiate a more lasting peace.
As Christians we are called to love God, with all of our heart, minds and souls and then with the very same emphasis, love our neighbor as ourselves. The question has always been, who then is my neighbor? The Christian answer has always been and will always be, we are all neighbors. I must love you and you are compelled to love me. Martin Luther King, Jr. aptly pointed to “Love,” as “the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” We must work together to accomplish what we cannot do alone. There must be a spirit of cooperation. We must put down our destructive weaponry; we must unclench our fists and come to the table of righteous negotiation. We must approach the dialogue with an open heart and mind. Gandhi reminded us that, any “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” As we reach out to one another to find common ground we must approach the negotiations with a conciliatory spirit. It is imperative that we work together. For if we don’t work together we will weaken our possibility to accomplish much as we will be exerting so much time and energy fighting.
There may be those who would consider any hope for compromise idealistic. To that pessimistic group I contend we can at least dream. We need to dream. Every major accomplishment began with a dream. Many great efforts caused the naysayer to ostracize, criticize and sometimes even terrorize the dreamer. However, we find ourselves at a juncture where we must like never before dream the dream of all dreams.
We must risk the possibility of being seen as insane. We must risk the possible onslaught of criticism. For if we fail to risk we are guaranteed to fail. However, if we are truly Christians we can hold on to God’s promise that there will be a marvelous rainbow that awaits us if we “Walk through the storm…”
On the other side of the storm lies a world where we listen to, learn from, and even love our enemies. We can come through the storm thanking those we were once enemies for challenging us and stimulating our growth. Some would say that is impossible. To you I say, perhaps. However I remind you that we who were hated enemies just a few decades ago are friends today. Why? Someone dared to dream the dream of all dreams.
We, today, like never before, need to dream the dream of all dreams. It is that dream that will serve to transmute the hideousness of hate. It is the dream of dreams that will enable us to cut through the ghastliness of greed. The dream of dreams will inspire even the most uninspirable, enchant even the most disenchanted. The dream of dreams will bring peace among even the most adversarial.
It is amazing and certainly regrettable that this largely Christian community could ignore God’s strongest teaching, i.e. “love your enemies.” I wonder sometimes if we understand that there are consequences for violence. There is no honor in judging, blaming, or attacking others.
I think it is time for all who profess to be Christian to walk the talk! Where is the love? Where is the love for those who don’t look like us? Where is the love for those whose priorities differ from ours? Where is the love for our enemies?
Just a thought, but what if, those we think are enemies are actually “enemies” sent by God to test us? What if those “enemies” are God’s way of making us more aware of our own faults? In any case, if we are to walk the talk, it is time for us to ask our enemies to work with us so that we can together disarm the real enemies: fear, greed, hate, pride, etc!
As we approach the Sabbath
Sunday, June 16, 2013, is the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost (Happy Father’s Day!)
Join our Worship Experience at 10:00 am.
Church School begins at 8:45 am.
Scripture Lesson for this Sunday
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
There is a Word from the Lord!
Sermon Text Ezekiel 17:22-24
Sermon Title “The Model Father”