Jesus’s exhortation to “love your enemies” may well be the most difficult of all his commands. Certainly it is one of the easiest to explain away. If we’re honest, many of us are hesitant, if not downright unwilling, to even give it a try.
In the following video, theologian Miroslav Volf suggests one explanation for why many of us balk at the idea of loving our enemies: power.
Volf seems to be on to something as he notes that possessing power makes it difficult to take up Jesus’s invitation. He recognizes with clarity the ways power gets a grip on our hearts and incapacitates our imaginations. On the other hand, he perceptively notices how a feeling of powerlessness and an experience of marginality can combine to create the conditions that lead people to try to love their enemies.
This interview with Amal Nassar, a Palestinian Christian, offers a glimpse into the life of a person who, in response to her own powerlessness and marginality, has dared to try to love her enemies.
Nassar’s testimony is an inspiration to powerless and powerful alike. But what a difference it would make in our world if those of us with power would dare to relinquish our power in order to love our enemies with the same kind of creative love as Nassar.
Questions for Reflection
1. In what ways do you struggle with operating according to an “eye for an eye” approach to life?
2. In what ways do you explain away Jesus’s call to love your enemies?
3. Do you know someone who has loved their enemies? What has that looked like? Take some time in the next week or so to try to ask them about how and why they did that.
4. Who comes to mind first when you hear the phrase “your enemies”? What is one specific way you can show love to that person or those people in the next few days?
The Good Life Playlist
If music speaks to your soul, make this playlist–comprised of songs that explore the various themes in the Sermon on the Mount–a part of the soundtrack of your life as we explore together The Good Life Jesus invites us to live.