Next week I am attending a faith-based conference at Chautauqua, NY. The theme of the conference is "Resistance." There is so much injustice to resist in our own country and around the world. I am grateful for the hundreds of thousands of people who resist injustice in all its forms including those who recently resisted the inhumane family separation policy along our southern border. Resistance to evil has always been at the heart of following Jesus. Yet Jesus' way of resistance as summarized in Matthew 5: 43-48 is most often ignored or ridiculed even by people who identify as Christian. It seems either too idealistic or too radical to be effective:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A recent episode on the TED Radio Hour reminded me of the power of Jesus' way of resistance. The episode is called "Why We Hate," and here is the link so you can listen for yourself.
The episode is divided into four segments, each one focused on a person who resisted hate in a way that engaged the humanity of their enemies. The people come from different faith traditions including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Each segment also comes from a more extended TED talk. Over the next few weeks, our Monday Meditation will focus on one of these people who resisted injustice and evil in the way of Jesus even though they come from different religious traditions. For this week, please take the time to listen to the TED Radio Hour show "Why We Hate." In a world and a nation filled with so much injustice, we need to find ways to resist that advance justice, bring healing, and refuse to demonize anyone including our enemies. After all, this is the way of Jesus.