Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
A World of Competition
We live in a world of competition. There is the competition of the athletic field. There is the competition of the business arena. There is the competition of political supremacy. You fill in the blank. Throughout human history, rivalry has led to the desire to annihilate or destroy one’s competition.
When the discourse of relationships grows to that level, the other person, family, team, business, people, or nation is no longer a competitor but an enemy. Enemies are meant to hate. To hate one’s enemy is to seek their demise or their destruction. The world seems to feed off of hate, and that monster just keeps getting more and more hungry every day.
The Lord Jesus lived in an age when to hate one’s enemy was the entrée of the day. As the Lord of Glory, he turns the current world values upside down and introduces his kingdom values to a world that’s gone mad. Jesus commands that we love our enemies. Those who seek our demise or destruction, we are to love. Love seeks the highest good of someone else without consequence or expecting anything in return.
The Savior tells us it is no big deal to love those who will love us back. The real test is whether we choose to love those who despise us and seek to hurt us. This is not a natural disposition for people. It can be accomplished only in the power of the Holy Spirit by those who are willing to lay down their lives and yield to the Savior on a daily basis.
Isn’t that what the church needs? To be filled with the love and power of the Holy Spirit to break the cycle of hate in the world?
Jeff Carter, Forsyth County Jail and Prison Ministries
Winston-Salem, North Carolina