Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who are we inspired by?

I want to think about the idea of being inspired. I heard a story on the news today that got me thinking about this. Maybe some of you heard the story of the hate crime in West Virginia, where a girl was tortured by at least 6 other people because of her race. They "hated" her and therefore decided to take it out on her. Well, I would say that hate inspires hate in almost every case. As I thought of what kind of horrible people these folks are for what they did, I began to feel hatred towards them. I thought that they needed to be dealt with in a similar fashion. I would also say that in contrast, love inspires love. When someone shows love to another person, it inspires other people to react in a loving way. Hate inspires hate, and love inspires love. This is almost always the case, except with Christians. We are called to be inspired not by the world around us, but by Jesus. Jesus always inspires us to love, never to hate. True, He hates certain things, but He doesn't inspire us to hate.

So, if I am a follower of Jesus, I am to be inspired to love. But in this case, I find it extremely difficult to feel any love towards these people, and others who commit atrocities such as this. So where does that leave me? I know what I am supposed to do, but I can't think of a way to lovingly approach this situation without letting them off the hook for what they did. No one said being a Christian was easy - at least Jesus never said that. But He did say that we need to be salt and light - countercultural in our behavior.

Matthew 5:38-39 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Matthew 5:43-45 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is that gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Jesus has clearly set out for us clear instructions for how we are to react to evil. We are not to do nothing, but instead to turn it around and teach them something about Christ. If someone punches me, it is easier to walk away (still being peaceful) than it is to offer to let them punch me again. It is easy to hate my enemies, but harder to love them and pray for them. But the last verse sums up what the goal is - to gain life, and not destruction. Walking away after someone punches you, you will still probably have a grudge with them. But standing there and inviting them to have another go shows that you have let it go. Now, what is "it"? IT is the temptation to respond in kind. Hate inspires hate. But if you are able to be inspired by Jesus, and not the world around you, you are able to offer the person a second punch because you have truly let "it" go - your thoughts and actions are not headed towards destruction, but instead you are choosing life. (although three punches and you may be gambling that life a little too much - just a joke). The point is that it is natural for us to feel hate, but it is not Godly to respond with it. I honestly don't know exactly how to "love" these people that I was hating this morning, but I do know that I can (and will) pray for them. It is not easy. Few will find the road that leads to life. But if we are inspired by Jesus, and allow Him to direct our actions and reactions, and remember why we are doing so - to truly be sons of our Father in heaven, then we will find life, fuller life than we thought possible.

1 comment:

Mom said...

You say it is hard for us to love these people and indeed it is. It is only by the love of God that abides in our hearts that allows us to even think about loving the unloveable. It is only His love flowing through us that can touch them and change us. But ask yourself this: "How does God love me? How much does God love me?" He loves me wherever I am, in my own sin and unrighteousness, and so undeserved. He loves me so much that He sent His Son to take my punishment and die in my place and He looks at me through the shed blood of His Son and finds me righteous We know the Bible says "there is none righteous, no, not one."( Romans 3:10) yet the word tell us "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. " 2 Cor 5:21.

This situation also brings to mind John 15:12 the commandment that we: "love one another as I have loved you." How much does God love us? How much grace have we received? (God's Riches At Christ's Expense.)

it makes it easier to begin to consider the command to love them, when we remember how much He loves us.