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Loving our enemies

One of the most wonderful things about writing a blog is that it is my space to write about whatever I think is important for the world to read. I control the comments that are allowed on the page. And at the end of the day, I have the last say. Those who wish to share their own views that go directly against mine are welcome to write their own blogpost. I force no one to read this blog. All who continue on choose to do so.

I try not to take advantage of this privilege but today I will. One thing I learned very early in life is that theology and politics can be two problematic topics that lead to extensive debate and division. This is a political post. You have been warned. Read no further if you do not wish to hear my opinion on a topic that has angered me.

The bombings in Boston are horrendous. Awful. Everything from the boy who died to the many who are killed to the bystanders and those on tv whose sense of security has been shattered by the actions to the made up stories that snopes.com has investigated. Truth be told, I cannot imagine the pain that those affected are going through right now. I feel sad and angry on their behalf.

Lots of facebook prayers and thoughts have been lifted up for the victims of this senseless violence. My prayers hold them too.

But I want to speak about the two boys who have been accused. Not to defend them. These things are unjustifiable no doubt. Nothing I say let’s them off the hook. 

But the hatred being offered is gut-wrenching and sickening to me. I cannot stay silent. These two boys are made in the image of God just like you and me. They are sinners like you and me. Likely you along with me haven’t murdered others. But if we take Christ’s words seriously, our hateful thoughts might as well be murder, our lustful desires might as well be adultery. And then, who among us could cast the first stone? As Miroslav Volf so eloquently argues in Exclusion and Embrace, we are quick to label those sinners – those who are not like us. The way from exclusion to embrace is to recognize our own sinfulness before the cross. I don’t know about you all, but if I do that, there is enough sin in me to have me kneel before God in humility and awe that he would “save a wretch like me.” (I probably need not say that this is a quote from the beloved hymn amazing grace…. grace would not be so amazing if it saved nice people, good people even. It is amazing because despite our ugly sinfulness and constant rebellion against God, he dies for us, paying *our* penalty for sin, and what’s more – he uses us for his glory. now that is amazing).

How can we preach God is love in one breath and then speak God’s condemnation in another?

God is a God of justice no doubt. And the younger boy who is alive should answer for this. And I pray he will humble himself.

But we also stand before Christ and have to answer for the sins that nailed him to the cross. My sins may not cost another’s life or situate myself in jail. But i have hurt, used, mocked, rejected, hated.

We serve a God who took a murderer who persecuted Christ followers, bringing terror into their lives. And God met Saul on the road to Damascus in a very dramatic way – Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

We have Peter who sought his own safety and denied the Lord 3x just moments after he promised that he would stay by Christ’s side.

Augustine was a womanizer and quite the rambunctious person getting into all sorts of trouble.

Ravi Zacharias made a very serious suicide attempt before his deep conversion.

Christ hung on a cross while his onlookers cast lots for his garments. And his words? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Meeting hatred with hatred is not going to bring about love. We must choose love. We must choose to pray for our enemies, choose to do good to them – its not something we just wake up one day and start doing.

What do we do with the anger and vengeful thoughts? Give them to Christ. I believe Christ took on the sin we have committed but also by his wounds we are healed… our wounds inflicted by others are also healed on the cross.

Hard words?

Yes.

i have no other way to end this than with a prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

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