Friday, March 7, 2014

Blessing from the Enemy

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)

What a troublesome verse.

I feel like I see people doing hateful things, often in the name of "taking a stand" on one thing or another with no room for giving an inch. Then, when they receive "hate" for their stand, they get to quote this verse.

I may have done this a time or two . . . or three . . . and perhaps the counting is not done.

But I think this teaching requires some discernment. I don't think anyone calling me an ugly name or even attacking me physically necessarily means that I'm right, justified, or blessed.

I certainly don't think it means we can yell this verse back at our attackers and continue on our way, feeling smug about having been attacked.

A few thoughts:

Feeling hated, excluded, reviled, or defamed will not feel like a blessing, at least I don't think so.

Answering hatred with this Bible verse does not make one blessed, neither does it conclude any argument. In other words, the fact that one knows this verse proves anything.

Tha Abbas and the Ammas of the 4th Century Egyptian desert had many sayings about humility, that it is the one thing needed to love, the one thing that evil cannot match. If the above Bible verse becomes a weapon against our enemy, it has become an agent of hatred and there is no humility in the quoting of it. We cannot love our enemy while using scripture as a weapon.

If we are to love our enemy, we are to, read carefully, love our enemy. If we are attacked and this verse comes to mind, realize it is a comfort to us and nothing else Also realize that the blessing may be a bruised, limping blessing like Jacob's.

Loving our enemy will leave no room for our enemy to use the above Bible verse in their defense, either. Loving our enemy will not look like hate, exclusion, revulsion, or defamation.

At least, these are the thoughts I'm thinking this evening. These are the thoughts I hope will rise whenever I feel hated, excluded, reviled, or defamed.

God grant us humility to love.

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