This week, we again allowed Jesus to mess with our ‘normal’ way of doing life. In Luke 6: 27-36 Jesus says that when His followers, His Kingdom people are wronged in some way, instead of violently lashing back or slinking away (Flight or Flight) they are to demonstrate a new way. They are to Love Their Enemies.
This Third Way, as Jesus describes it, is the path that cuts between violence and passivity. It is not a ‘you hurt me and so I’m going to hurt you back’ but its also not a withdraw from conflict or claiming neutrality in cases of oppression so as to allow the perpetrator to further oppress and injure. In fact, Jesus way might be called ‘creative non-violence’. It means followers of Jesus are to love, and love in a way that it shocks the perpetrator (people who have been brought up to believe there are only two options) and leads them to reexamine their actions and, ultimately, to a change of heart.
To live this way requires a retraining of our natural instincts, our ‘knee-jerk’ reactions. It requires a humility to admit to others when we fall short. It’s also a willingness to continually ask God, as well as our brothers and sisters, how we might creatively love the enemies in our life.
Questions for us to ponder this week:
- How does this ‘third way’ of Jesus challenge you?
- Think of someone in your life right now who you find very difficult to get along with, let alone love. What creative way might you demonstrate the disarming love of Jesus to them this week? What would it look like?
- What would it look like if we-together as a faith community-would seek to model this disarming love of Jesus toward difficult people in our home, at work, in our city? What about a foreign policy that was based on ‘creative non-violence? What would that look like?