“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . ” -Matthew 5: 43-44
In Chapter 7 (“Help Your Friends: Punish Your Enemies”) of Who is This Man?, Pastor John Ortberg states that Jesus was citing conventional Greek and Roman wisdom in Matthew 5: 43. As the author observes, we’re all susceptible to negative emotions regarding those who have hurt or offended us: “Anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment are a huge force in life, and no one floats above them.”
Yet underlying Jesus’ words is the command to love. We are called to love those who have hurt us, whether they are repentant or not. Early in Jesus’ ministry (Mark 4), he drew such a large crowd that He had to teach from a boat in the lake. Following this teaching, Jesus told his disciples they were going over to the “other side”- the Decapolis, where the 7 nations of Canaan settled; a region filled with pagan temples where the pig was regarded as sacred. Jesus was greeted by an audience of one, a demon-possessed man. And when word of that man’s healing spread, people were more receptive, because Jesus cared about someone on “their side”- the other side.
Today’s question: How will demonstrating love and forgiveness to those on the “other side” of our downsizing or position loss bring healing to our lives? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Us vs. Them”