A couple of days ago one of my twitter followers tweeted:
The so-called “Refugee crisis’ has been skillfully engineered and manipulated by the Left to open up Europe’s borders to a savage enemy.
It made me see red not just because I did not agree with the sentiments but because it was said by a well known Christian leader. As I sat quietly and contemplated this message the prayer above bubble up from my heart. It also seemed appropriate as we remember the terrorism of 9/11 again today.
Jesus taught us:
You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 The Voice
It is so easy for us to demonize people who are different from us, – to hate homosexuals, African Americans, refugees, Muslims, the list goes on. All of us are prone to hate and love to rationalize our hatred with stories of the bad things these people have done.
Often our hatred is focused on those who are hurting and in pain. It is so easy for us to turn away from the overwhelming needs of refugees, poor African Americans, people of other gender orientations, because they behave badly in front of us or because we do not understand them or their suffering. We rationalize our bad treatment of them because they don’t act as we want them to. But that is not the Jesus way.
Jesus tells us very clearly – love your enemies. That is the story of the Good Samaritan, his inclusion of tax collectors, his reaching out to Gentiles. All of these were seen as Jewish enemies. Even on the cross Jesus looks with compassion on his persecutors and says “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
What do you think? Who do you love to hate and how do you rationalize your behaviour?