As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Romans 11:28-32
I have really struggled with today’s verses. Paul uses some very strong words for God’s chosen people calling them enemies of God. As I contemplated what to write I wondered if we Christians haven’t sometime used verses like these to justify our treatment of the Jewish people. After all if they are enemies of God don’t they deserve our scorn and mistreatment? No because immediately after calling them enemies Paul writes that they are beloved by God. Can we really hate or mistreat any people beloved by God? No, if God loves them we should also. Of course God does not only love the Jews or Christians, He loves each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. God loves all of us and we are called to love everyone else also.
Now that is easy to do with people who are like us. It gets harder to love those who are different. It is easy to love my family and friends. Loving my brothers and sisters in Christ is mostly easy. I confess that some of you are harder to love than others. That last sentence most likely includes me. But love the unbeliever? Love the homosexual? Love the Moslem? What about the thief who robs my house? What about the person who hurts the ones I love? The answer is I am to love all of them. Not only love them but forgive those who wrong me. It is then that I cry out to Jesus how can I do this? It is too hard for me. And He answers that through Him nothing is too hard. He commanded each of us to love God and love our neighbor as we love our selves. This is hard to do.
I have been listening to C.S. Lewis’s “God in the Dock” on my commutes and something he wrote stuck with me. If you are looking for an easy religion don’t choose Christianity. Choose something else. Pick Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism they are easy. Christianity is hard. It is not a religion for wimps.
Have a blessed day,