Focal Passage: Luke 6:27-36
This past summer my friend
told me a story I will not soon forget. Voice trembling, she recounted an awful
experience she had at a local fast-food chain.
While waiting in a
drive-through line, the driver in the car behind her began to honk and scream,
spewing a torrent of profanities and insults directed at my friend.
Face flushed, heart racing,
throat closing, my friend contemplated how to respond. Listening intently to
her story, I did too.
I felt my blood pressure
skyrocketing as I searched the files of my mind for the best comebacks I had
ever heard or used.
I shook my head slowly and
breathed heavy through my dilated nostrils as I fantasized about the
tongue-lashing I would have loved to unleash.
Oh, what I would have said!
Oh, what I would have done!
And then, as is the case
more times than I’d like to admit, it happened.
Our focal passage for the
day hit me right in the teeth.
My friend told me that she
didn’t understand what would make a person speak so venomously toward another,
and feeling pity on this insanely impatient individual, she drove up to the
window and paid for the meal this driver had just ordered.
Why hadn’t I thought of
Embarrassed, and a little
ashamed, I immediately felt like a member of the crowd Jesus was addressing in
For all our talk about love,
often it is painfully obvious that we Christians have not seriously dealt with
Jesus’ words concerning our enemies.
We have qualified,
justified, and de-radicalized Jesus until he is little more than a Mr. Rogers
Jesus is not encouraging
Christians to be nice; he is demanding that we genuinely love those who want
nothing more than to destroy us.
Love of family and friends
is certainly good, but it is also expected, and oftentimes we even have trouble
No, the love Jesus describes
is a love that makes Christians stand out in a crowd.
It is a selfless, shocking,
confounding love that makes others take notice.
It is the love of a people
set apart — holy, just as God is holy (Lev. 11:45; cf. Lk. 6:36).
What might Jesus have said
to my friend?
Perhaps he would have
reminded her (and me!) that loving our enemies enough to pay for their meals is
not icing on the cake.
In truth, it is the only
love that really counts.