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Sunday, May 26, 2002

Edifier du jour-Luke 6:27-36
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
It's another touchy-feely Sunday (like last week) here in the Byron Catacombs, but the comments on Ben's post of the other day call for another whack at the subject. It isn't easy to love your enemies and to give them their props as a fellow human being, especially if they are dead wrong on a vital subject. It's even harder when they make fun of your beliefs, as the Randroids of the world tend to do on many issues, or compare you to ignorant feces (Let me know when you find a sentient turd). It's a lot easier to take complements like Mark Butterworth's agreeing with last Sunday's Edifier on graceful blogging. It's natural to love your friends and hate your enemies. The trick is to love your enemies while standing true to God in the process. People tend to confuse loving ones enemies with agreeing with ones enemies. Quite a bit of evil of the world has been aided by the misinterpretation of this and other verses, as the liberal temptation is to be overly unsure of ones position (yes, some humility is an order) and that there is common ground to be had in all cases. Moral relativism is the very slick slope where loving the enemy slides into loving the enemy’s ideas. This is a tricky endevour, to go out into the world try to advance the Kingdom of God while being gracious in the process. We have to stand up for the truth and point our evil where it exists, but we need to do so in ways that doesn't stoop to the enemy's level or hurt our cause in the long run. If you are trying to change minds with what you say and do, your rhetoric should be set in such a way as to advance God's kingdom while showing the Fruit of the Spirit. It takes a certain amount of grace to walk away from a pissing match rather than return fire. If takes grace to attack an argument rather than the person making it. It takes wisdom to phrase an argument to correct and persuade rather than to condemn. It takes discernment to seek to redeem a person rather than to humiliate them. These things go against our basic nature and make our arguments a bit less sexy. However, we're here to please God, not man. Sometimes, we can do both, but don't count on it.

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