It’s popular to be angry. If a person makes an angry post about their enemy (who also happens to be the enemy of many others) on Twitter or Facebook, the post will certainly get lots of likes and retweets. A good way to grow a public platform is to be display outrage against a common enemy.
It’s profitable to be publicly outraged, to rebuke an enemy.
This is not to be confused with speaking up and out on behalf of victims of injustice. God calls for this. Jesus requires it. I’m talking about public displays of outrage in which a person grows their platform by raking an enemy over the coals.
Jesus said, “Pray for your enemies.”
He also said, “Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:27-31 CEB).
Frankly, this makes no sense. No amount of explanation or exegesis can make us go, “Oh! I get it!” We’ll only get it if we do it. Then, it makes strange sense little by little. It frees us.
It frees us as it reveals to us who Jesus is. This means that there is some knowledge of God we can only gain by acting into it.
So will you add this to your practices for Lent? Will you pray for those who mistreat you? Your enemies? If you do, “you will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people” (Luke 6: 35-36 CEB).
Message from Sunday, March 26, 2017:
Image: from the Menologion of Basil II