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A Third Way: Compassion

September 1, 2010

Yes, instead of worrying about who is right or who is wrong. Instead of being consumed with what will be best for the country, we are actually supposed to be consumed with loving neighbor as yourself. Showing compassion to all.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

It is hard to love someone when you are angry with them. It is hard to love someone when they are not on your side. It is hard to love someone who you blame for all of your problems and the problems of your country. If we are children of God we are supposed to show love to everyone and that includes those we disagree with about values.

“But Darin, we do love them, we love them so much we want to correct them.” I understand that and God does discipline those he loves and yet I’m pretty sure that is just a cop out because we are against those we disagree with. They are viewed as the enemy.

Maybe this will help because in the third way we recognize who the real enemy is. Paul, in one of my favorite passages, says what we need to hear.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12

If only we recognized our enemy. Are people darkened? Yes. Have they been sucked in by lies? Sure, but guess what Jesus said love them. Show them compassion and prepare for our true enemy Satan.

How would this entire US vs. THEM change if we recognized our true enemy? If we viewed them as a victim of the lies instead of the perpetrator?

Not only does it make us less likely to listen when we don’t see life from the third way, we may actually miss the very valid concerns of those we disagree with. Those who you see as an enemy want justice for the oppressed and see mistreatment of the less fortunate. A couple of ideas that God’s kingdom is supposed to be about.

I think at times their concerns are valid. You may disagree with the remedy but when I see someone as an enemy I may miss empathy that I should feel for their situation. I may not seek valid Christ honoring solutions because I am more worried about being right and my side. I might miss that greed, a very none Christlike characteristic is causing a great deal of the harm people are feeling today.

Yes, dare I say I might miss out on loving my neighbor?

all quotes from the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

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