Shalom! A Journal for the Practice of Reconciliation is a quarterly publication of the Brethren in Christ Church. Its mission is to educate and stimulate Christ-like responses to the needs of society by providing biblical, theological, sociological, denominational and personal perspectives on a variety of comtemporary issues.
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Summer 2015, "Loving Enemies"
There is a bumper sticker that reads, “When Jesus said ‘love your enemies,’ he probably meant you shouldn’t kill them.” The question of what it actually does mean to love your enemies takes on new urgency in our modern world of tribes and nations and religions at war with each other – a world where young girls are kidnapped and enslaved, journalists are beheaded and the video evidence broadcast around the world, innocent people are terrorized and bombed, cruelty of unimaginable proportions takes place daily, churchgoers are summarily shot and killed by an avowed racist, and national leaders are unable or unwilling to engage in good-faith negotiations with those perceived to be their nation’s enemies. In such a world, what do Jesus’ words mean? Loving enemies is messy, complicated, and difficult. But it is what we are called to do as Christians, whether those enemies are the ones plotting the destruction of a nation, the person spouting hateful rhetoric from the other side of the political spectrum, or the bullying or irritating neighbor next door. Our Brethren in Christ “pursuing peace” core value hints at what loving enemies might mean at a minimum: valuing all human life, and promoting understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation, and nonviolent resolution of conflict.