Wednesday Word: What's love got to do with it?
You shall not murder. – Ex. 20:13
“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 your Father in heaven.” – Matt. 5:43-45a
“Teacher, which commandment in the Law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And a second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matt. 22:36-40
“The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” – 1 John 4:21
“Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.” – Rep. Clay Higgins (R), LA
Those were Rep. Higgins' recent words on how he thought this country should handle Islamic terrorists and suspected Islamic terrorists. He later attempted to clarify his words by saying he wasn't talking about peaceful Muslims, just the Islamic terrorists. But until an act of terrorism occurs, one almost never knows who is a terrorist and who isn't. Like the quiet man down the street who keeps to himself and is only later identified as a mass murder, most terrorists generally lead quiet, unassuming lives in order to not get caught. And it's telling that he focuses on people who look different while ignoring far right wing and/or white supremacist American terrorist individuals and groups.
His solution, no matter how he tries to backtrack, comes down to advocating the rounding up and killing of anyone and everyone who looks different or practices a different religion. This is his Final Solution to ending terrorism – Kill them all.
We reap what we sow. Violence begets violence in a continual downward spiral. But this is also the way of the world ever since Cain took Abel out to inspect the crops. Kill them before they kill us. This is how “honor” works, hitting back faster and harder when you, your friends, or your family have been disrespected. The world is a violent place. The world wants us to play by its rules.
But as Christians we are called to live by a different set of rules. We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. We are called to respect the dignity of EVERY. HUMAN. BEING.
Maybe this is why Jesus was silent before Pilate – because he had nothing to say that the world would understand. And the words he did speak, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” were words spoken from a different playbook.
Love, however, is hard. Hate is easy. When Jesus spoke of the narrow road, I believe it was this – allowing ourselves and our lives to follow the broad and easy road of hate rather than the narrow road of love.
May God have mercy on our souls,