Skip to main content

Who is my enemy?

My eldest daughter had her arm broken, accidentally, by a friend at kindergarten on monday.  As we were in the hospital waiting for her arm to be reset, she told me, "when my arm is better I will push Anna (not real name) over."  To a three year old reciprocal violence is a natural instinct.  Of course she wants to do back to Anna what she did to her.  Through an act of violence with unintended consequences Anna has become my daughter's enemy.
[pic from here]
Jesus decisively redefined the concept of "neighbour" in his parable of the good Samaritan, effectively ruling out the dividing walls of society, culture, religion and race from the decision as to what members of the human race we should "love as ourselves."  Hence we are compelled to love our human enemy and not hate them.  But with this recent talk of vengance we seem to be left with a applicational vacuum.  If hate of humans is dissallowed then how can I read (for example) Psalm 137 without missing bits out?  How can baby bashing be words that I sing and pray without denying the command of Christ?  Frankly all that talk of "the psalms teach us to be honest to God about our feelings" doesn't cut it.  Feelings of anti-human anger and revenge are simply dissallowed for those indwelt by the Spirit of Christ.

Well, having a daughter with a broken arm has caused me to reflect on a friend of mine who has had two heavily disabled children, one of whom died after years of painful struggle.  I have heard him talk on more than one occasion about living with extreme suffering and disability.  One of the things he says the struggle has taught him is a hatred of sin.  For my friend sin is not merely the naughty things that we get up to when we think God isn't looking, but the reason that disability, suffering and death entered this world.  His experience of suffering has taught him to hate.  It is a hate I wish more Christians shared.  Sadly the church is better known for its sinful hatred of humans under the influence of sin than for its aggression in leading a life free from sin.

I don't want my daughter to hate Anna, or repay her.  I want her to hate the reason she got pushed in the first place.  The fact that they were fighting over a toy instead of sharing.  The fact that greed and not love was motivating them both at the time.  My daughter's enemy is not Anna.  Her arm was broken by sin.

If we need to hate something to particpate in the psalms, may I suggest one answer might be to hate sin, the sin that is at work in our lives and everyday causes us to hurt those we are commanded to love and frustrates us in our desire to draw near to God.  "Happy is the one who smashes the offspring of sin against the rocks, who destroys sin's work in their own life and frustates its propagation, who cuts sin off in its prime and annihilates it with the love of God in Christ."

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post (besides the fact that it makes me dread the day when one of my children first ends up with a broken limb).

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.

The false link between suicide and mental illness

One characteristic of human society is the tendency to keep doing something over and over again despite it not working. One example would be our approach to incarcerating criminals to punish them instead of rehabilitating them, compounding their trauma and making it harder for them to live productive law-abiding lives when they get out. But this is the "common-sense" approach, the intuitive human response to the failings of others, punish them and they wont dare do it again. It has never worked, ever, but let's keep doing it. Secular society is screwed because it cannot comprehend that its vision is blurred by sin and therefore knee-jerk, common sense solutions are usually destructive and counter-productive.

So it is with our response to suicide. To kill yourself must be the response of the weak minded and sick - so the thinking goes - so to combat rising suicide we treat individuals medically. Yet suicide is a perfectly rational response to a world as broken as ours and…

Wars and Rumours of Wars

I write in the morning after the USA 2016 Elections, which featured the historic election of Donald Trump. Apart from my personal interested as a resident of planet Earth at this time, it is interesting to note some of the apocalyptic language emerging in discussions of what this means. Even archaeologists are turning to the medium of prophecy. Hear the word of Tobias Stone,
So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover and move on.  Stone suggests that future historians will be able to draw clear lines from Brexit to Trump to the 3rd World War, or something equally bad. Mind you, just because historians can draw those lines doesn't mean they are here.

Then there is the word of Thom Hartman who is more interested in the domestic fallout than the fallout shelter. 
The last …