Graduate Level Loving Podcast Notes
There are 3 words on this box that are responsible for imminent doom in your life if you happen to purchase this box. Do any of you know what those words are. You got it, “some assembly required.” The smart parent will spent the extra $10 bucks to have this sucker built by a professional. And when I say professional, I mean a 17 year old kid who works part time and makes $7.00 an hour. “Mr. Hawkins your bike is ready.” At this point in my life, I’m smart enough to spend the money. The biggest hassle I had was with the pedal. Let me ask you a question. What way do you typically turn a nut to screw it on a bolt. You can use hand motions guys, if that will help. It’s clockwise, isn’t it. That’s true 99% of the time. But not with this particular piece. It screws in counter clockwise. Does anybody know why that is? Because if they screwed in the way a typical nut screws onto a bolt, when your kid went down the driveway the pedal would unscrew as your kid pedaled.
“Love your enemies”
Luke 6:27 I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
The Jewish people Jesus spoke to had plenty of enemies. The Romans, the samaritans, tax collectors. But my first response to Jesus statement is, “enemies? I don’t have any enemies. What am I, Batman?”
What does it mean to love?
I’m not sure a lot of people hate me, but I have a hard time doing good to those that disagree with me.
Types of enemies
Assama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein would also fit in this category.
Most people don’t have a true enemy, but there are some of us who do. I was talking to my friend who mentioned a gentleman from his last church who’s daughter was raped and murdered. This man had to sit in a courtroom and look at the man who had taken his daughter from him.
That is a true enemy.
90% of people, when they think about enemies, think of the first two. But there are other enemies out there.
This is the person in your life who inwardly you are competing with.
This is someone who believes different than we believe.
One Sunday morning during junior church we learned a song with the line, “He has conquered every foe.” When I saw a number of puzzled expressions, I explained a foe is an enemy. Still thinking on my feet, I said, “The name of one of our foes begins with the letter D.” I was referring to the Devil, but I got some immediate insight into one family’s politics when one child replied, “Oh, you mean the Democrats!”
Perhaps you read the story about a woman and her husband who came to a pastor because the were getting a divorce. So the pastor challenged the man,… “The Bible says you’re to love your wife as Jesus Christ loved the church.” He says, “Oh, I can’t do that.” The pastor says, “If you can’t begin at that level, then begin on a lower level. You’re supposed to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you at least love her as you would love a neighbor?” The husband says, “No. That’s still too high a level.” The pastor says, “The Bible says, Love your enemies. Begin there.”
If we are honest with ourselves we would all have to admit that somewhere amidst the people in our lives there are those who oppose us. Those who annoy. Those we avoid. People we don’t want anything to do with. Yet Jesus says in no uncertain terms that we are to love these.
God wants us to learn graduate level loving.
God doesn’t want us to love like everyone else loves. He wants us to be known for our love. You will know we are Christians by our love. Not our buildings or our clothes but by how we love each other. And if we are going to be know for our love we need to take it to the next level.
“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. Luke 6:32-35
Stephen Tschiderer, an army medic, met his enemy’s bullet before he met his enemy. While patrolling the dangerous streets of Baghdad, he was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper. Although he was knocked to the ground by the impact, He was saved by his bulletproof vest. In company with the combat team that tracked down the sniper, the soldier discovered his assailant had been wounded. At this point, loving one’s enemy was no longer a theoretical concept. The enemy was directly in front of Stephen, wounded and in need of prompt medical attention. Stephen could have roughed him up. He could have simply walked away and justified his actions. Instead, He treated and dressed the wounds of the man who had tried to take his life
Brandon Biggs’s father, Gregory, was struck by a car and lodged in the windshield. He might have survived the accident if the driver hadn’t been high on drugs and alcohol. But instead of rendering aid or calling for help, she drove home and parked her car in the garage, leaving Gregory Biggs to die. After authorities put the pieces of the case together and arrested Chante Mallard, and she was given a 50-year sentence. At the end of the trial, she tearfully asked Biggs’s family for forgiveness. Biggs’s son, Gregory, then read a statement in which he told Mallard he accepted her apology, “but in return, I hope that you wil5l accept my forgiveness, and I hope you will accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.”
I read this week of a woman who had to watch both her son and her husband burned at the stake by policeman in South Africa as a result of apartheid. At the trial of one of the policemen who did this heinous crime she was asked by the court to make her requests to the jury. This is what she said.
“I want three things, I want Mr. van de Broek to take me to the place where they burned my husband’s body. I would like to gather up the dust and give him a decent burial. “Second, Mr. van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. “Third, I would like Mr. van de Broek to know that Hhe is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him, too. I would like someone to lead me to where he is seated, so I can embrace him and he can know my forgiveness is real.” As the elderly woman was led across the courtroom, van de Broek fainted, overwhelmed. Someone began singing “Amazing Grace.” Gradually everyone joined in.
God brings healing through it
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great. Luke 6:35
This is the reason we exist
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. Luke 6:35
How can we love our enemies
We need to learn to love our enemies. What I found interesting as I studied how we are supposed to do this is that the way we are to love our enemies is the same way we are to love those we are in relationship with. The steps are the same.
1. Widen your perspective
We need to see life from the other persons perspective. To see below the surface. Let me give you an example. If you were to hear about a child that was abused by their parents, how would you feel. Maybe they were beaten or emotionally abused or worse. What would your heart feel. For most of us, we would feel heartbroken. What a tragedy, right? We feel for that kid until he reaches 18 and he starts acting out on the abuse and dysfunction he has experienced. When he starts doing the same things his parents did to him, then we want to throw them in jail. We need to broaden our perspective. Immediately following Jesus words on enemies are some words that give us instruction on how it’s possible to do the impossible. Look with me at
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken togetherˇ and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38
What you are doing when you choose to love your enemies is you are choosing to give up your right to play judge. You are not saying that this person does not need to be punished. You aren’t saying they aren’t guilty. You are merely giving up your right to play judge. You are deciding that isn’t a weight you are going to carry any more. You are choosing to see life from their perspective.
2. Deepen your prayers
Pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Your thinking that your prayers would sound like this. “God, please rain judgement on these people. Get that guy for what he did to me. That’s not what God is saying here. He’s saying to pray for their well being. Pray that things would go well and at the top or your list needs to be the prayer that God would get ahold of their life.
3. Forgive freely
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” Anne Lamott