Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love Thine Enemies

Matthew 5: 43-47 says:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?"

I have been struck by the fact that the Mountain Meadows Massacre and to the World Trade Center bombing both happened on this day (Sept. 11) - and by the way we in the Church tend to separate them. I have a fairly easy time praying for those who carried out the Mountain Meadows Massacre, because I share a faith with them and can read of their otherwise righteous efforts and their subsequent lifetimes of grief and suffering over what they did. I can see them as fundamentally good people who made a terrible mistake in a difficult time of confusion and paranoia and impending war.

As we pray for the victims of 9/11/01 and their families, I wonder how many of us think to pray sincerely for those who perpetrated that attack (and their families) - not having the advantage of seeing why they did what they did and not sharing a faith we can use to “understand” their terrible action. I wonder how many of us pray that the casualties among the insurgents and terrorists will be minimized - and that the war will end, even if no one formally wins. I wonder which we value more - loving our enemies and praying for God to protect them or winning, even if means many of them are killed and maimed.

If these two events had to happen, I appreciate that they happened on the same day - if only to remind us that we shouldn’t seek to understand "our own" while simultaneously refusing to seek to understand those who "only" are our own in spirit.

7 comments:

Jami said...

It's hard. Sometimes when I am really bored hearing the same things again and again, I think about how much I need to work on applying them more. Am I charitable? Have I forgiven everyone? Hearing is easy. Doing is hard. Hating is easy. Forgiving is hard.

Tasha said...

Amen!

Sojourner said...

VERY good points and well said. It touches a little bit on my 911post (at least the points on foregiveness and individual perspective).

Patty said...

I really appreciate you bringing up the need for forgiveness, especially in cases like 9/11 (both instances.) I get tired of hearing so much hateful talk about terrorists and Islamic extremists without ever hearing about the need to forgive and to hopefully come up with ways to help teach them and change the way they think. More killing isn't going to permanently change anything.

Papa D said...

I was struck by the different tones of songs written after 9/11. Some were bitter "let's kill people" messages, while others were very reflective (like "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning - Alan Jackson).

Anonymous said...

Corrie ten Boom (in "The Hiding Place" p.238) explaining why she prayed for the pilot as he flew over over home bombing the neighborhood (WW II):

Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? . . . I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

Papa D said...

I love "The Hiding Place". That is a wonderful quote. Thanks for sharing it, whoever shared it.