This is a guest post by Richard Gross, Public Schools Educator and Chaplain. Richard holds a
Master's Degree from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and another Master's Degree from CSULA.
I have long sought to live by Jesus statement, “Love your enemies.” This highest human ethic, combined with the examples of “bless those who curse you” and “do good to those who despitefully use you,” have been my guide for years. However, I claim no mastery at its practice.
Paul offered a similar statement, “Let each esteem the other better than oneself.” This echoes loudly a “beingness” which I seek. Imagine a world where each individual looks at another as one to look up to, more deserving… better. It does not say “is better,” but rather this speaks to a grace-filled practical way of relating toward one another. Very John Lennon-ish. What a great guide to help us share the world.
Ex. 23:4-5 tells us if the donkey of our enemy collapses under its load, we are to assist. Same ethic, written into the foundational law of God’s new nation? It is “the concrete” of Jesus’ statement.
Many of us know of the Good Samaritan, this hated one taking care of the injuries of his wounded hater. Who does this? Who pays for the care of one who hates them, like this Samaritan? Who lives a way of blessing one who curses you? Who would jump at the chance to take our enemy to the store if his/her car “collapses?
Love your enemy. At one time, I was challenged by an individual on the “absurdity” of the statement, as a contradiction in scripture, thus making scripture invalid. It was posed, “It is not possible to love your enemy. If you did, you would have no enemies.”
I said, “Now you understand the wisdom of Jesus.”
Like the song says, “Let it begin with me.
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