Friends and Enemies

We are walking toward the cross in this Lenten season and the Judas story is right around the corner.  It amazes me Jesus does not treat Judas like his enemy.  Jesus calls him “Friend.”  What’s more, Jesus even tries to find the hand of God in all this.  I rarely think of that possibility first.

 

Caravaggio's take on Judas's betrayal

Over the years, people in churches have gotten on my case for bad theology, manners, preaching style or other various and sundry matters.  They are usually trying to marginalize their pastor in some way.  (Some I can’t blame when I look back at some of those sermons.)  In one case, I decided to confront such a person in the church parking lot.  The person craters and hardly ever spoke to me again.  Years later, I am still stewing about it.

 

I tried to fight fire with fire, and we both, got burned.  I took a person, who too is a child of God, and make a betrayer and devil out of him.  The chance at reconciliation went out the window by my using the violence of harsh words to defeat my enemy.

Jesus seems crazy when he says bless those who curse us, do good to them that do us harm.  Turn the other cheek.  Love our enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you.  Seek peace and pursue it.  Put away the sword.  Pour water on fire.  Lower the temperature.  Cool things down.  These teachings seem so hard when we experience betrayal, rejection, denial, and loss.  Setting down our sense to be right is the Jesus form of peacemaking, though it goes against all of our natural instincts.

The reason this is so hard is because it seems so crazy.  Maybe crazy is just the tonic we need.  The paradox of peacemaking in our sick world is we are called to fight fire with Living Water.  After all, this Lenten road leads to a cross constructed by enemies of a Christ, who forgave them and us and us and called all of us “Friends”.

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Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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