From Pastor Brady
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Luke 6:27
Jonah hated his enemies. He loved himself and his own people. I’m sure Jonah was not unique in his day. Most likely all of Israel hated all of Nineveh. And why not? They were terrible, violent, murdering, pagans, with world domination as their goal.
Jesus tells us to love our enemies. And to show love by doing good to them. This has to be the most difficult command Jesus ever gave to us.
On Sunday we learned about anger and Jonah’s anger at Nineveh and even God. Anger flows from unmet desires. Therefore anger also flows from what we love. St. Augustine talked about having “disordered loves.” When we love the wrong thing we get angry about the wrong things. In descending order, Jonah was angry about God’s compassion, Nineveh’s repentance, and about the death of a plant.
When you love yourself, you will be angry about situations, angry at enemies, and even angry at God (He’s unfair etc.). When you love what God loves, and hate what God hates, you will actually love your enemies. Look at what Jesus says in Luke 6 a few verses past our Fighter Verse:
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Luke 6:35
Jesus calls the people listening to him (his disciples) “evil and ungrateful.” So they’re evil, but does Jesus hate them? Does he love them? Is he angry at them? What is he angry at?
If Jesus hates evil and is angry about evil, could it be possible that this anger actually increases his love for us (his children) and his enemies?
If Jesus is angry about our sinful selfish attitudes, could it be possible that he would tell us to love our enemies because that is the ultimate test of selflessness and humility?
If Jesus loves saving people and he loves his redemptive plan for the whole world, and he loves all humanity, and he loves seeing the Father glorified as His grace is received by more and more people, then wouldn’t it make sense that he would be angry at the “evil and ungratitude” in our hearts, and yet, because he loves us he would call us “Sons of the Most High” and then go to the cross demonstrating the greatest “love your enemies and do good to them” ever!!
Maybe when God asked Jonah to love his enemies, He wasn’t just saving Nineveh, he was saving Jonah too. How is God saving you? How is he using your anger to teach you about what you love? And hate? And should love instead?