Monday, February 07, 2005

Disciples Know (7)

Disciples Know Not to Limit Their Love
Matthew 5:42-48

Regarding Jesus' teaching to love and pray for your enemies in Matthew 5:43-48 ...
"For preachers who had hoped that the gospel made sense, that following Jesus was a means to basically make nice people even nicer, Matthew 5:43-48 is a strong rebuke. ...

"I heard the great scholar of world religions, Huston Smith, list what he considered to be the unique, distinctive characteristics of the various faiths. When he got to Christianity, Smith simply said, 'Forgiveness. Forgiveness of enemies. This is the very strange notion that makes the teaching of Jesus distinctive.'" (William Willimon; Interpretation, 57:1, pp.62-63)

“To pray for our enemies is the summit of self-control. First, we are not to take any evil initiative ourselves against our enemies, Second, we are not to avenge another’s evil. Third, we are to be quiet. Fourth, we are to suffer wrongfully. Fifth, we are to surrender to the evil doer even more than they demand. Sixth, we are not to hate them. Seventh, we are to love them. Eighth, we are to do them good. And ninth, we are to ask of God on their behalf.” (paraphrase of the words of Chrysostom, a 4th century Christian minister