Imagine being a leader of a school or a church or a community with a staff that included a white man wearing a MAGA hat and a Black woman wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
David Bailey recently pointed out that Jesus’ disciples included both tax collectors and zealots. Their modern-day equivalents would be as seemingly diametrically opposed as the two people I described above. The tax collectors were Jewish citizens working for the Roman government. They often extorted their own people. They were seen as betraying their nation. The zealots were, as their name suggests, zealous for their nation. They were Jewish nationalists, ready to fight to overthrow oppression and make Israel great again.
Jesus intentionally called both of them to be his disciples. And as far as we know, he didn’t overtly correct their zealotry or their tax collecting. He did call them to be humble, to live and love sacrificially, and to care for others through prayer and healing and service.
It leads me back to the question of what it means to love “our enemies.” What does it mean to love those who are ideologically, culturally, ethically, politically, or otherwise opposed to me?
I think it’s simpler than I make it. Loving other people means looking out for their needs. Listening to them. Sharing my own cares and concerns. Being honest.
“Love your enemies” does not mean “change your enemies’ political views.” It does not mean, “Convince your enemies that you see the world rightly and they don’t.” Love, whether it is towards myself or my neighbor or my enemy, is patient and kind. Like Jesus with his disciples. Like Jesus with me.
(See my recommendations from yesterday for a few podcasts and articles related to this theme.)
To learn more with Amy Julia in thinking about politics, power, and loving our enemies, here are some additional podcast episodes and reflections:
- S3 E19 | Loving Our Enemies in a Nation Divided with David Bailey
- AJB Recommends: How to Love Across Divisions
- Five First Steps toward Participating in Racial Healing
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