Who is My Enemy?

Jesus did not let any institution interfere with his love for individuals. Jewish racial and religious policies forbade him to speak with a Samaritan woman, let alone one with a checkered moral background; Jesus selected one as a missionary. His disciples included a tax collector, viewed as a traitor by Israel, and also a Zealot, a member of the super-patriot party. He praised the counter-cultural John the Baptist. He met with Nicodemus, an observant Pharisee, and also with a Roman centurion. He dined in the home of another Pharisee named Simon and also in the home of an “unclean” man, Simon the Leper. For Jesus, the person was more important than any category or label.

I know how easy it is to get swept away by the politics of polarization, to shout across picket lines at the “enemy” on the other side. But Jesus commanded, “Love your enemies.” …

Who is my enemy? The abortionist? The Hollywood producer polluting our culture? The politician threatening my moral principles? The drug lord ruling my inner city? If my activism, however well-motivated, drives out love, then I have misunderstood Jesus’ gospel. I am stuck with law, not the gospel of grace. – Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace?


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