(Jesus said) "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." Luke 6:32-33
We have a very good friend who is an occupational therapist, working exclusively with children.
In recent years Pam and I have learned a great deal from her. Although she cannot and does not ever share any patient information, there have been times when we've seen her with a smile that stretches from ear to ear. When we ask her about her obvious good news, she says something like, "One of my kids turned his head today."
At first we thought big deal; all children turn their heads. Then we found out not all children can. When one of this lady's children turns a head, or lifts an arm, or takes a step, it's monumental good news. More often than not those little things are the result of months of work, encouragement and pain.
Now I share that with you to help explain why I think the tweet that was sent out by Hasan Rouhani, the president of Iran, is a big deal. That tweet said, "As the sun is about to set here in Tehran, I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah," that is a blessed Jewish New Year.
Now if you and I had sent out a similar tweet, it would have been met with yawns. But when someone like Rouhani does it, it's a big deal. After all, the fellow who was in office ahead of Rouhani hated the Jews and maintained the Holocaust never happened. Now I'm not saying this small gesture is going to mean "peace in our time," but I am suggesting what Rouhani did was a brave thing and a far better thing than rattling military sabers and making overt threats.
All of this leads me to suggest that we Christians ought to love our enemies.
When Jesus was among us, He loved and gave His life to save everyone. Then He encouraged those who were given faith in Him as Savior to do the same for others.
His is an order which is sometimes difficult to fulfill. You see, most of us have someone who just simply drives us bonkers. When we're being honest with ourselves, we admit we don't love that individual; we don't like that individual; we don't even want to be in the same room as that individual.
Yet, that is precisely the individual Jesus tells us to care about.
So, let's try, shall we? Let's do something ... anything ... even a small thing to reach out to that individual and show them that Jesus' request hasn't fallen on deaf ears.
Starting to love our enemies: it's the least we can do in thanksgiving for Him who died for those who crucified Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks Jesus didn't only preach the truth, He lived it. He has never asked His followers to go where He has not already been. This is why I ask that I be given the desire and strength to love my enemies. May the Savior grant me the grace to care for those who bug me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries