An Unnatural Act of God’s Children
Author and speaker Tony Campolo often asks students at secular universities what they know about Jesus. He asks if they can recall anything Jesus said. The clear reply, time and time again, is “love your enemies”. More than any other teaching of Jesus, that one stands out to unbelievers. Maybe the most unnatural act of any of Jesus’ commands.
Most people would prefer to agree with the philosopher Immanuel Kant who argued that a person should only be loved and forgiven if they deserve it. Let’s be honest it is hard enough to love our brothers and sisters in Christ never the less someone who is an enemy. Love the thugs and drug dealers poisoning our neighborhoods, love that neighbor who parties too loud and too late, love the Islamic terrorist who kills innocent people, and love that political ideologist on the other side of the aisle – it’s just too unnatural.
We all have our enemies, someone who has hurt us, hates us, persecutes us or just disagrees with us. Someone we have walled off for protection or excluded for convenience. These are the people Jesus requires us to love – an unnatural act that goes against our primal instincts. So what makes loving our enemies such a priority that it becomes central to our faith? Jesus gives a simple theological answer to why we are to love our enemies: “In that way you will be a acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” A simple answer but an unnatural act. Yet in my lifetime there has never been a more needful time for children of the Kingdom to act like our heavenly Father. For that reason I want to take us a little deeper into this unnatural act of loving our enemies over the next few weeks.