We have heard it said that we are to love our enemy, yet that is something that we as people can find to be really hard. No one wants to love, or even help the ones that have caused them harm, yet that is the very thing that God is calling us to do. To love those that have hurt us. Though God also knows that this is something that is not easy to do. Yet with time and God on our side we can do it.
It is no secret that in the past I have been sexually assaulted many times, yet some people still find it odd that I would welcome the people that did that to me into my church with open arms. This was something that many graduates in my class in college didn’t get. When we were faced with the question on if we would let a person with a sexual assault record in our church, and participate in our church, they all answered no. That they wouldn’t feel comfortable allowing someone like that partake in there service. Yet I had a different answer than them and it had to do with me telling them my story for the first time. This was not something easy for me, yet I knew it had to be done. I told them that from a survivor standpoint, I wouldn’t want the one that did that to me to be outcast from the church for something that they did when they were young. I would want them to be able to fully experience God, in the best way that they could, in order that they could know God fully. This shocked most of them, and confused even more. Many wondered how it was that I could do that, to love and welcome someone that hurt me. Yet that is the very thing that Jesus does daily.
Before Jesus died on the cross he stood before a crowd, one that was asked who it was that they wanted, Jesus or someone else. Well, the crowd chose the other guy and when asked what to do with Jesus they shouted crucify him. Some people when they look at the passage think of the crowd as people that never knew or walked with Jesus. Yet that most likely wasn’t that case. Most people at that time in Israel knew of Jesus. They had heard him preach and had walk miles in order to do so. Yet at that moment, that very moment, when asked to stand up for him they turned him away. People that had listened to Jesus preach, had followed him wherever he walked, shouted out to crucify him on a cross. The most painful way to die. That is what they chose for him. People that loved Jesus, and that Jesus loved, hung him on the cross. We hung Jesus on the cross, that day. Yet one of the last things Jesus did on the cross was forgive us. Jesus forgave those that turned against him and killed him. Why can’t we do the same? Why it that so hard for us to hear? Forgive those that cause you harm. Forgive those that hurt you, that kill you, that killed the one you love. Forgive. What is keeping us from being about to do that?
~ Pastor Jillian