Bertrand Russell, a Christian man who later became an atheist and deep thinker, once famous said:
“The Christian principle ‘love your enemy is good … there is nothing to be said against it except that it is too difficult for most of us to practice sincerely”.
What I think is interesting is that he doesn’t debate the beauty or rightness of Jesus’ statement. He debates its practicality or the average person’s ability to practice it. And I agree with him wholeheartedly, that this teaching of Jesus is difficult to practice. And it is difficult because it is counter cultural, it requires discipline, and most of all, it requires inspiration as well.
So on Sunday I want to really explore and dream about how our lives might be different if we actually practiced this teaching of Jesus. As Jesus himself says, “everyone loves who love them back”. What might happen though if we became a community of people who took seriously Jesus’ teaching to love others. How might that shape and change us?
And so we are going to be diving into the world of neuroscience, our view of God, and of course, a few thoughts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
My argument on Sunday will be pretty simple.
- It’s not that loving enemies is easy: it isn’t.
- It’s not that loving enemies makes sense: it doesn’t.
- It’s not that loving enemies will make them be nice to us: it probably won’t.
- It’s that loving our enemies is the way of Jesus Christ.
Loving our enemies is not easy, it’s certainly not practical, and it won’t ensure you never get hurt again. Loving your enemies sometimes mean you end up on a cross; sometimes it means being left alone and abandoned, and sometimes it means that the entire world gets changed…
So that’s where we’re going, but why wait to hear it on Sunday. Why not practice it today? Why not try to love those around you today? It won’t be easy or simple, but it will be the way of Jesus. And that should be enough…