Love for Enemies
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”
Experts say we’re “becoming desensitized to it.” I don’t think I ever will be. Seemingly every day, in our great nation, we hear on the news some person who has chosen to violently hurt and/or kill others – usually people they do not even know. There is no getting used to this.
Something has changed in our society. We know it. We feel it. Research shows these changes have been going on for a generation and they are profoundly affecting us.
What has changed? We live without roots. In essence, we move away for the sake of “opportunity” and the norm is no longer that family and place are at the center of our experience. And while this doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal, the unintended consequence is profound. This rootlessness has led to a sense of loneliness. And this loneliness is killing us.
Have you ever noticed how we interact in large groups now – waiting in line at the coffee shop or standing in a crowded elevator? No one talks to each other. We simply find something, anything to look at on our phone. Perhaps when our family arrives home, everyone heads to
their corner of the house to “connect.” Yet that connecting is away from every other person.
We have forgotten God created us to live in community with one another. We fail to cultivate deep roots with others. We have created a godless culture in which we don’t believe we need anybody, with an unidentified hole in our heart that drives us to despair.
Some 3000 years ago, God spoke through Isaiah and said, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God…” May each of us claim our God who is bigger than the hole in our hearts and bigger than the problems we face in our world.
Gracious God, you call us to live beyond ourselves. Give us the courage to invest in relationships, especially with our family and friends. Fill our hearts. Guide our lives. Bring healing. Help us to get this right, dying to ourselves for the sake of others. Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Bouvier
Pastor Greg heard God’s call to Sheridan in 1999 and that began a journey which has become his life’s work. Having played a variety of roles as pastor of Sheridan, Pastor Greg was called as the Senior Pastor in 2011. He now leads the staff and his primary focus is on the creation of culture, the overall direction of worship and partnering with our amazing team.
Pastor Greg has been married to Rose for more than 30 years and together they have two servant-hearted grown children.