Bible and cross

Bible and cross

There are times in our lives when everything changes. In my life, one of those times came when my daughter was born. We had taken the classes and read the books, but when they sent us home to care for our daughter on our own, I couldn’t help but feel woefully unprepared. I wasn’t just a man anymore. I wasn’t just a husband. I was a father. I had another person that I was responsible for, and if I didn’t do my part, she couldn’t do it herself.

Over the past several months, our church has been studying the person of Jesus. We know that he is the central figure of our faith, but we wanted to make a conscious effort to study him, the things he did and the words he taught.

A few weeks ago, we came across a passage that reminded me of something that we all know as the Golden Rule. Most people remember this idea as something like this: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

In other words, treat people the way you would want to be treated. This is something I have heard throughout my life, and there is obvious wisdom to this principle. If you respect people, then it makes sense that they would respect you back.

A few weeks ago, we came across this phrase in his teachings. However, this concept was used as a method to summarize a broader thought, and it’s a thought that pushes past the obvious wisdom of the Golden Rule. Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Read that again and take a moment to let it sink in. Jesus pushes beyond the concept of treating people with mutual respect. He challenges the people around him to love those who are in opposition to them. To bless them. To pray for them. This is a high call. This is a significant challenge.

Here in America, about 2000 years later, we are going through a year that has the potential to be very divisive. It’s an election year, and we will hear many things and read many stories about people that we agree with, and others that we do not. However, I would urge us to heed the words of Jesus. Instead of using those disagreements to separate ourselves from people who are different than us, look for ways to love one another.

We are all created by a loving God who loves us and cares for us. A God who lived with us and died with us. He cares about you, too. According to the Bible, we were all once enemies of God, but he died for us anyway. He died so that we could live, and so that we could live for eternity with him. If that isn’t loving one’s enemies, I don’t know what is.

May you be blessed this year!

The Rev. Mike Giesenhagen is pastor at Hutchinson Evangelical Free Church in Hutchinson.

 

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