The Taser's Edge

A Meditation for Loving Your Enemy

Mark 10:35-40 (ESV):

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”  Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”  And they said to him, “We are able.”  And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

I noticed Friday as I read these Scriptures that this is a powerful meditation which can teach us to love those whom we fail to love and even those whom we might consider our enemies or hate.

Think of the person who most frustrates you.  It might be someone you see every day (or it might be a politician or a historical figure or a family member).  Personally, when I find myself failing to love someone (usually in the form of judging them, which I at least find difficult to separate from judging their actions), I start condemning myself for it.  Now condemnation may be what the sinful action deserves, but it doesn’t actually change my heart.

An exercise which might, in time, change my heart: Picturing that ‘enemy’ or hated or judged person as the one for whom the seat on the right hand of Jesus has been prepared.  Perhaps eventually I can not only picture but even ask God to prepare that place for them beside Christ.

This isn’t an exercise in assuming that other people are better than us (for those of us given to self-hatred, and looking for further encouragement into that), but rather a belief that the person we most hate, even the person who seems to deserve our hatred or judgment, is the beloved of God.  If we believe that the seat next to Jesus might be theirs, then we also believe that God has a plan for their lives, to give them love, hope, and a future.  And eventually, we might even share in God’s love for them.

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