Pray for Your Enemies!
Even though He had more enemies than any of us, Jesus exhorted:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?...” (Matthew 5:43-46)
People used to be able to respectfully disagree with each other. But just as we’ve abandoned a moral code, our society has exchanged basic decency for contagious hate.
As fears continue to go viral with the outbreak of the coronavirus, hate is reaching record levels. Before “social distancing” became our new way of life, one Denver councilwoman tweeted “#solidarity Yaaaas!!” in response to the following tweet:
“For the record, if I do get the coronavirus I'm attending every MAGA rally I can."
And when Senator Ted Cruz announced he was self-quarantining after interacting with an attendee at CPAC who was infected with the virus, still others cheered:
““I am beyond thrilled that KARMA was able to include you in her oh so busy itinerary.”
““You should totally go spend time at the WH now. Shake lots of hands. Touch lots of door knobs…”
But physical threats are not new to this politically toxic environment. While the Supreme Court reviewed “a case challenging to a Louisiana law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed at the courthouse while shouting:
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price!" Schumer warned. "You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
“In Windham, New Hampshire, a 34 year-old man allegedly shouted obscenities and slapped a 15 year-old for wearing a MAGA hat, then broke the jaw of another Trump supporter who came to the boy's defense…[and] in Hobart, Indiana...a couple drove two teenage boys off the road because they were riding bikes adorned with Trump flags.”
Violence of any kind should be denounced regardless of political or ideological preference. John Adams once warned:
“Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.”
As people of faith, let us remember not to wish ill but rather pray for our enemies:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men...If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:14-17, 21 NASB).
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