When Principles Fail (#511)
Wayne's back from his trip to the Midwest and as he debriefs with Brad they end up talking about conquering lust through a fascination with God not legalistic rules, the trajectory of healing that comes from being renewed in our minds, and the freedom that love gives us not to try to fix other people and instead we can help rescue them from destruction. Then they respond to listener questions about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. How do we love our enemies in the face of such evil? What do we do about the refugees streaming out of the Middle East? And what might God be asking of us in the face of our fears and the overwhelming need of refugees that we are now facing?
Wayne's blog, "To My Sisters Raised in Captivity"
Wayne's blog on The Trajectory of Healing
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The Eastern Orthodox have a wonderful reflection on salvation of “I was saved 2000 years ago, I’m being save today and I will be saved on the day of the Lord!”
And Francis of Assisi had the perspective of all of us having “Points of Conversion” that happen thru our lives.
Hello Wayne and Brad
Always enjoy your conversations. Thanks again for sharing the journey.
I was thinking more about some of the things you said, and the following popped up in my mind.
First of all, it seems to me that Jesus does not put any qualification on the command to love our enemies. So that, presumably, means that we should love them even if they are threatening us or our family with death.
Now, this second idea may prove more controversial than the first, but here goes. Perhaps we shouldn’t mix Jesus’ sayings (just as it is — so I am informed — a bad idea to mix drinks), but what if we take the injunction to love our enemies, stick it together with the story of the Good Samaritan and set it in the present day?
The road is not the road to Jericho anymore, in this new version it’s the road to Raqqa in Syria. The first person who passes by on the other side, let’s make him Donald Trump. (I said this would be controversial). Now let’s say the second person who passes by is … Franklin Graham. The person who helps? Not a Samaritan in this version. To bring it up to date, we’ll make this character a persecuted Yazidi tribesman.
Finally, the injured man left by the site of the road. Not set upon by robbers in this story. No, in this story, he is the victim of a Predator drone strike. And he has not been set upon by bad guys. No, this is where the “love your enemy” part comes in. In this story, he is a “bad guy”. He is a member of Islamic State, still wearing black and carrying an IS flag.
Should we “go and do likewise” and emulate the Yazidi of this story?
Or should we make a subtle distinction between a neighbor and an aggressor? But if we do, surely we are then saying that there there are too different levels of love — to love our neighbors “as ourselves” but to simply “love” our enemies. Either that or there are two different kinds of “neighbor”, one the deserving victim, and the other the “evil” aggressor?
This is a tough one — something my heart really struggles with — but I cannot escape from the feeling that I am supposed to love all my neighbors, a term which has been expanded by Jesus to even include my enemies.
I would be very interested to hear what you guys thought.
Hi Stephen — I really think you have captured the spirit of the parable there. Hypothetically, if it were the case that the Lord began his ministry now rather than 2000 years ago, I am thinking your version would represent one of the many ways that the Lord could have contextualized the Good Samaritan for our time.
Well said Stephen. This really gives me something to think about as well as Wayne’s statement “I think we are at our worst when…”
Appreciate the thoughtful responses and enjoy the contemplative reflection it brimgs out in me. I continue to wrestle w this bc being raised in a very performance based environment and suffering the well meaning but still abuse at the hands of those who in turn were walkig w deep wounds…Father haas taken years to unpack this. What do I do wmy anger? I’m asked to love them…ok what does that look like? He is walkimg more closely w me than I ever thought possible…all of this to say what incredibly complex thigs to unravel…and wow…be prepared for this to take a lot of time. Following Him..absolutely..through some tears I would say it’s hard but it is worth it.
Sue, just remember we always walk inside our freedom, not trying to conform to any set of expectations. Knowing how to love those who have abused you, no matter how unwittingly, is the fruit of a long process of transformation. Don’t even try to do it while God is still sorting out all the impact of that abuse. Anger is not an inappropriate response to what you’ve been though, you just don’t want to camp on it. Keep giving it to him and as he expands the reaches of your freedom you’ll know exactly how to love those people and what’s more you’re heart will be shaped so that you can. But it certainly won’t be just to “make nice” when you’re heart is wounded inside. God’s got this, Sue. Just let him unfold the process for you.
The entire statement for my previous post is “I think we are at our worst when we try to sort out principles to be applied in environments where we are not present.”
The last gathering my family attended was a home church whose central focus was living a life of principles. There was a seemingly endless number of principles for any and every occasion. The common theme of discussion among most of the attendees was “What principle are you learning about this week.” I got to the point of answering: Anyone can live a moral, principled life without Jesus. This so totally flustered them! They could not see a person could have a good principle and use it at the wrong time too! This journey is so much simpler when you live loved and share that love with whomever you cross paths with.
I bet it did, Barry!
It’s easy to live by principle. It requires very little faith and virtually no relationship. You just pull out your principle and voila! you have your answer.
Yet, what you describe is much “harder” when you’re used to living the other way (but simpler in the way you describe) and requires great faith. But it is so much more freeing!
I am learning to live in the reality of the Father’s love. Step by step. Good to know others are helping pave the way.
Really liked your thoughts. I attend a home study group of folks who have, from my prospective, a lot of reserve. One of the comments was to become more like Jesus. Until you are perfect. Like He was.
Personally I live in “tornado country”. Not by choice but it is the direction my life has gone. When one is in the midst of it all, you want help from a reliable source….Now!!… Over the years & tears I have learned, and am learning, that he can be trusted. Rarely early but never late. My kind of life develops a certain kind of faith. I can’t say I would encourage anyone to emulate me. In fact I would discourage it. But I have learned THE ANCHOR HOLDS!
Hi Mark, I think we would all like to become more like Jesus, but even that concept can be turned into a life of principles, good ethics, and a myriad of how-to books and seminars which is devoid of a growing relationship with Him. That’s why I have so come to embrace the Christian life as a journey and process of growing closer to Him. Everything else will fall into place, and thankfully the anchor holds firm come stormy weather.