8/18/19 – Our Enemies are not God’s Enemies

Posted on : Aug 14th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my enemies were also God’s enemies?  Anyone I had a strong dislike for, God would too.  Anyone who has hurt me or done wrong to me would not only be on my enemy list, but God’s also.  Luckily for me, that’s not how God works.  I say luckily, because I’m sure to be on someone else’s enemy or frenemy list, and quite honestly, I don’t want God hating me just because someone else does!

Actually, God doesn’t have much time or use for enemies.  Jesus is quite clear about that.  One day while teaching, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer.”

Wait a minute.  Do not resist an evildoer?  Yup, that’s what Jesus teaches.  And then he expands on that with these words: “But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”  That sounds awfully “enabling, doesn’t it?”  Today if someone angers us, we don’t turn the other cheek.  We either give the finger, scream an f-bomb or pull out our Ak-47 assault type rifle and blow ‘em away.  Of course then we’re mystified about why we are such a violent society.

For many years, Rev. Dave Myler was the Director of Spiritual Care at Children’s Hospital LA, then UCLA Medical Center.  He was also a member of our congregation.  On many occasions he preached for us.  One of his sermons has had a lasting effect on me.  It was called “Slapping Cheeks.”  What in the world does Jesus mean when he says, “turn the other cheek?”  Unless you were here and remember Dave’s sermon, you’ll probably never get it.  It had a very clear meaning among first century Jews and Palestinians.  Turning the other cheek was the ultimate neutralizer of violence, not an invitation to “get smacked twice.”  It also opens our eyes to the truth that our enemies are not God’s.

I need a volunteer on Sunday who will let me demonstrate what turning the other cheek means.  Anyone willing?  See you Sunday and don’t forget “CicLAvia” will affect how you get to church on Sunday.  Scroll down to the “traffic advisory” below for info on how to get here without creating a whole new host of enemies!

Blessings,

Dan

 

Matthew 5: 38-48

Jesus teaches about loving our enemies

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“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 children of our God in heaven; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?   And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Parent is perfect.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

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