April 15, 2018: Love Conquers Hate

Posted on : Apr 12th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Matt Fitzgerald, one of our God Is Still Speaking writers, sums up our current state of affairs with these words:

“Confronted by a big problem? Drop a bigger bomb. We’re death experts. We deal it out and we absorb it.”

I was absolutely stunned by the content of the discussion that preceded the recent adoption of the US budget.  There was deafening clamor for yet more military spending.  One group wanted huge amounts of money to build “mini-nukes,” the latest idea for nuclear weaponry.  The nuclear nations of the world already have enough weapon-power to blow the earth to pieces many times over.  That reality, up until this current debate, became the best deterrent for nations from using nuclear weapons.  So why in the world would we want to develop mini-nukes that if used, would clearly escalate to the use of larger weapons?  Makes no sense to me.

Couple that with the global outrage against the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and you have to pause and ask, “Do we know what we’re doing?”  Assad’s chemical attacks are horrendous, but they are infinitesimally less lethal than a mini-nuke!

Matt’s assertion holds true: “Confronted by a big problem? Drop a bigger bomb. We’re death experts. We deal it out and we absorb it.”

The same mentality is found in the growing number of hate groups.  Hate groups, hate speech, hate crimes are all up.

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus had a different idea.  Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  The Apostle Paul amplified that teaching in his letters to the Romans.  Paul wrote, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”  A more contemporary rendering of those poetic words is found in the paraphrase of The Message: “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”

Even though we are a long way away from the reality of Jesus’ and Paul’s teachings, we still live with the hope that those words offer us.  That’s because at the deepest level of our being, we know that Love does conquer hate, even within us!  As long as that hope remains alive, we know that our lives and our world can change.

This Sunday we will talk about that as we continue our Easter series: “The Week That Changed the World Continues to Change Our Lives.”

Blessings to you in this Season of Easter,

Dan

 ~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Romans 12: 9-21

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve Christ. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says our God.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 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.

Romans 12:9-21

A contemporary paraphrase from The Message

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of Christ, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

The Message, Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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