Tear Down the Walls: Galatians Part 2
Election day is behind us. But, arguments rage on. As we conclude this week, let’s consider some thoughts for moving forward.
Read the words of Jesus out loud:
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.Matthew 5:43–48 (NLT)
Beyond the Present Turmoil: A Christian Vision
The Christian lives into a future that is brilliant. Imagine all things and all people being reconciled—perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect harmony. The Bible even shapes an imagination for a future in which “the lion lies down with the lamb.” Reconciled. Enemy-less.
Jesus inaugurated this reality with his teaching, his death, and his resurrection. He taught us to love our enemies, he showed us how to love our enemies by dying unjustly, and his resurrection assures us that the ultimate division, between those alive and those dead, has been bridged.
This is our destination and also, this is our way. In a world that is not yet reconciled, we live as reconcilers. In a world full of enemies, we live at peace with all men. In a world of violence, we refrain from violence. In a world bent towards division, we call each other into the unifying love of God. *Even when we are rejected, persecuted and scorned.*
It is obvious that our nation is struggling right now. It is struggling because a nation (as good-hearted as it may be) cannot cast a large enough unifying vision that adequately answers the longing of the human heart for wholeness and peace. The glorious vision of our nation’s founding is beginning to dim. For the Christian—yes, it will dim, because it (as a nation-state) fails to have in view the transnational hope of Jesus’ kingdom.
The coming months may bring about a rending in our society that cannot be easily sewn up. We see it and feel it happening. We feel anger and disappointment. We are skeptical of those who disagree with us and we are increasingly worried about those closest to us. Gun sales have risen dramatically.
Over the next weeks and months, there will be significant swaths of our nation that feel unheard, unseen and powerless. Conversely, there will be a triumphant shout from the other ‘half’.
This begs the question: what should the Christian do? We live into and witness to that glorious future that has been secured for us and all who would believe:
- We are reconciled to God and so are ministers of reconciliation. Left/Right divides can be healed.
- We are no longer at enmity with God and so we cease proliferating enmity between humans. Liberals and Conservatives alike are guilty of deep hate.
- We are forgiven and so we eagerly forgive those who trespass against us. If you’ve been hated, choose now to forgive.
- We bless those who persecute us because the greatest act of persecution (the cross) brought life. While you’re being hated, trust that justice is not yours to create.
- Death has been beaten and so we do not cling to this life. If you feel under threat, do not trade out your basic Christian identity with threats or acts of death.
- We acknowledge that all people are created in the image of God and so deserve our respect. No political foe is worthy of contempt; instead seek to honor God’s creation.
Take some time to pray for your “enemies” today.