Thursday, February 21, 2008

Loving Your Enemies

This has to be one of the hardest teachings of Jesus and I can't say that I do this well or easily. The funny thing is that I don't really have cruel enemies who have deeply hurt fact, it's hard for me to even put a name to an enemy. I could name people who I have heard horrible stories about but personally don't know them. Usually, when I hear this teaching, my first thought is more to love those with whom I disagree.
Then I think of my dear Kenyan friends and the challenges they are facing with this teaching. Daily they are faced with the atrocities of family members being killed, mothers/sisters/friends being gang raped, homes being burned. This isn't because they have done something wrong but because of the tribe into which they have been born and the unrest from the presidential election that has initiated it all.

So, when I read the horrific events that continue to unfold in Kenya, I am encouraged by my dear friends who are trying to live out Jesus' teaching to love their enemies. The students and team members at Made In Streets (Nairobi, Kenya) are all of different tribes. However, they are coming together through this unrest by teachers talking about forgiveness. They also are trying to reach out in to their community and encourage church members to invite the opposing tribe members into one another's homes to display grace and love.

I can't even begin to understand the deep ties everyone has to their tribes or how this could affect previous friendships. The closest I can relate this to is to compare it to the racial differences in our country (which does not go back as far as these tribal issues). I am so encouraged when I hear stories coming out of how opposing tribes have protected one another during the unrest or are trying to make a stand in their community against tribal cleansing.
I am enouraged by their bravery to change my attitude towards the person who I can barely call an enemy and display love at all times and in every way that I can. I also continue to pray for these dear ones as they face the struggle between loving or hating their enemies. May their hearts continue to be filled with love, compassion, and above all grace towards their enemy and for change in the leadership of their country to bring this all to an end.


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