People might be skeptical about Christianity when thinking about our world today. Perhaps the love of God simply sounds too idealistic to be put into practice. Jesus’ command to love our enemies and pray for those who seek to do us harm goes against human logic. On Sunday we talked about how God calls us to lay down our swords. But how on earth does God expect us to do something like that? Do we simply just trust in God’s justice, protection, and security?
Throughout the bible, however, God is clear that his kingdom is quite different from any that we’ve ever known. As we looked at on Sunday, instead of engaging in fighting with one another, Jesus commands us to put our swords away. This is at the heart of the gospel message–Jesus alone gives the world salvation, not our own efforts, fighting, or aggression.
This comes as a difficult commandment for us simply because we don’t see the world operate in this way. In our personal lives, we have the habitual mindset that we need to stick up for ourselves and prove others wrong. We look at our political landscape and find the same exact thing–televised debates between political candidates often digress into shouting matches and attempts to insult the other side. At our jobs, we often compete with coworkers to get noticed or gain the credit for a job well done. Our world operates on a zero-sum-game kind of mentality where there are clear winners and losers–and we are deceived into thinking that if we want to win, that has to come through fighting.
But Jesus had a radically different response to the world’s twisted games. Instead of wielding unlimited power and even destroying his foes, Jesus sought to love others, even if it meant going to the cross for them. Instead of demanding that others serve him (to which he was obviously entitled to do–being God himself and all!), Jesus decided to take on the form of a servant, even washing the feet of his disciples who would betray and deny him. Jesus even healed the ear of a guard who was about to arrest him.
God’s kingdom looks quite different from this world.
Romans 12:14-21 says it like this:
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
So yes, God calls us to trust him alone when it comes to justice in the world. God calls us to put those swords in our lives away. And ultimately, God calls us to follow the peaceful was of Jesus Christ.