Loving Our Enemies. If our enemies are both wrong and evil, why and how can we love them as Jesus said we must? That is the focal point of our discussion this week.
Questions for discussion:
- Jesus, the true model. Jesus not only told us to love our enemies (Matt.5:44 ; Luke 6:27), he practiced what he preached. On the cross he prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” A crucial question for us might be: Did the Father grant Jesus’ request? Given all that Jesus went through before he prayed that prayer, what does that tell us about God?
- Jesus, the impossible model. How can sensitive Christians find peace with God if they know that they will always fall short of Jesus’ ideal?
- Patience without relativity. Many fear that if they do not immediately condemn wrong, they are then slipping into a dangerous relativism. What is the antidote for such fear? Or is there an antidote for it at all?
- Rebuking and forgiving. In Luke 17:1-3, Jesus lays down a hard challenge: the call to rebuke someone who sins and the call to forgive someone who repents. How can one slip from one mode to the other without compromising one’s convictions?
- Forgiving one’s enemies. If we hear God’s call to forgive those who have truly wronged us, how is that possible? Is it possible to forgive as long as we hold to or cherish the knowledge of the wrong that has been done against us? Will the ideal of restoration promised by the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34) and the ideal of forgiveness found in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:12) ever be attainable in this world before the return of Jesus?
- Costly forgiveness. Isaiah 53:4-6 and Phil. 2:5-8 both give glimpses of what our forgiveness has cost the Father and the Son. Can gratitude to God translate into our willingness to forgive those who have sinned against us?
- Beneficiaries of a loved enemy. If by God’s grace we are able to forgive our enemies, who are the primary beneficiaries?