I heard a great sermon yesterday on “impossible love.” The talk was based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:44 to love your enemies, and do good to those that persecute you. The speaker pointed out that Jesus is asking us to do something that is completely against human nature and that He is well aware cannot be done – without His help.
The sermon reminded me of something that happened with my youngest son last week. We recently moved so our kids have been attending new schools since September. Our youngest, who is 7, has mentioned several times that another child has been bothering him on the playground, slapping him and throwing sand on him. In an effort to resolve the situation myself, I have been to see his teacher a couple of times, and given him advice on how to deal with this boy if and when the bullying happens again. None of this advice, I have to admit, involved “turning the other cheek.”
My son, however, has apparently decided to approach the problem a different way. One day last week he came home from school and asked if he could call this other child. I was a bit surprised, given their history, and asked him if the two of them were now friends. He replied that no, they weren’t yet, but he wanted to invite this boy to come to church with us. Now really surprised, and fairly humbled, I agreed that he could call him and ask him. My son issued the invitation, I talked to the boy’s mother, and he is now going to come to Sunday School with us next weekend.
I’m not entirely sure if my son’s motivation is that he is determined to win this boy over by responding to his roughness in a way that is counter-cultural and revolutionary, or whether he has decided that the problem can only be resolved by taking this boy to church and filling him with the love of Jesus, but either way I thought it was a pretty good way to deal with this particular problem.
This kind of love may be impossible, but my son, and the sermon I heard yesterday, have inspired me to turn to the divine power available to me as a follower of Jesus Christ in order to attempt to respond the same way the next time I encounter someone who is being less than kind to me. With the kind of love that can only come from God, and that has the power to transform the world – one playground at a time.
Press on, my friends. Press on,