What I’m Thinking: Harsh Words on Love

When Jesus spoke of love, he asked a great deal. He asked sufferers to do good to those whom harm them That’s a challenge. For us, the challenge is to ask the same of everyone, so that the sufferers also stop suffering.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the sixth chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 6:27-38), the Sermon on the Plain. I’m thinking about what Jesus had to say about love.

These are amongst the hardest words that Jesus left us, because he said “love your enemies,” and “do good to those who harm you.”

These words have so often been used, not against people who harm, but against those who experience harm, insisting that somehow they feel some way about those who mistreat them once, many times, even on a daily or hourly basis. Spouses who are mistreated by their “loved ones”: they usually get quoted this Scripture over and over again.

There is nothing here that say that somebody causing harm should not stop it. Let’s make that clear: those who harm should stop. There is nothing here that says that those who are abused should stay and continue to be abused. Yes. They are entitled to leave.

What this does say is that for each of us there is a challenge to treat each other well, and to treat each other well despite what the others have done in the first place.

When my kids used to fight, there was something they always would bring to their explanation. It was always, “Well, he did…” or “Well, she did… first.” “And so therefore I had to…” “She had to…” second.

You know, I think that is where our fundamental error lies: that what others do to us does not require any particular response from us of vengeance or of recompense. What’s asked of us is to do the best we can in each day to see that relationships can improve or be mended, rather than be damaged or destroyed.

To those who are in abusive relationships, I say this: Be safe. If harm is at your door – or inside your doors – find a better place to be.

To those who are causing harm, I say, “Stop.” Because our summons from Jesus is to do good to one another. That’s the standard.

That’s where we ought to begin, and by the grace of God, that ought to be where we come to an end.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , , | Posted on February 19, 2019

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