Loving Your Enemies
by Alexei Laushkin
Over the past two weeks, I’ve heard two moving talks on loving your enemies.
The first came from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry. The Presiding Bishop’s talk was less focused on specifics, but he did point out some of the dimensions of what it takes to reconcile with one’s enemies. In the midst of his sermon he quoted from Isaiah. Specifically Isaiah 2:3:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths.”
and further Isaiah 2:4:
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.”
So taking verse 3. What ways might Jesus teach us? Mainly how to love our enemies and turn away when we are provoked and how to endure hardship well.
Verse 4 is interesting especially for longstanding disputes among Christians. One way you can take the verse is that the Lord will eventually settle longstanding disputes between believers. All the differences that can be reconciled will be reconciled under Christ, than we once again will take up our Masters teaching on peace and endurance. We will learn anew what it means to handle differences well.
In the meantime we practice and grow in dependence on Christ so that those things might be born in our hearts is a sure way to focus our attention.
The second sermon was commemorating Archbishop of Uganda Janani Luwum killed on February 17, 1977. The ministry of the Archbishop had not previously included a lengthy season in focusing on the social teaching of the church, but as the dictatorship of Ida Amin grew more and more oppressive, the Archbishop organized a diverse set of clergy to speak out on extrajudicial killings.
Eventually he was summoned before Amin and told to stay behind. He was killed that same day. (click here to read more about his story). The Archbishop was called into the line of fire through his faithfulness to the gospel. He was compelled to speak out even when it was dangerous to do so, and his death, like many other Christian martyrs in the face of adversity, goes to show how the gates of hell can’t overcome the witness of the church.