Friday, February 2, 2007

True Love

Over the past few months, I’ve been going through The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as somewhat of a personal devotional. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany at the time that Hitler came to power, and was martyred at the age of 39 for his active role in opposing the Nazi regime. I find his teachings to be extremely deep and challenging; they never leave me without something to ponder.

I just finished a chapter about the passage where Jesus talks about loving your enemies (Mat. 5:43-48). Though Jesus’ intentions are clear (to love), how to actually practically live this out is not so simple. I loved this passage:

‘Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.’

“…Through the medium of prayer we go to our enemy, stand by his side, and plead for him to God. Jesus does not promise that when we bless our enemies and do good to them they will not despitefully use and persecute us. They certainly will. But not even that can hurt or overcome us, so long as we pray for them. For if we pray for them, we are taking their distress and poverty, their guilt and perdition upon ourselves, and pleading to God for them. We are doing vicariously for them what they cannot do for themselves. Every insult they utter only serves to bind us more closely to God and them. Their persecution of us only serves to bring them nearer to reconciliation with God and to further the triumphs of love.”
This concept of love isn’t some kind of warm and fuzzy infatuation, but an active pursuit of the best interest of another, even at the sacrifice of one’s own ‘rights’. What a beautiful and perfect picture of the love of Christ… appealing to the Lord on behalf of the unworthy.

No comments: