If You Love Your Enemies, You Will Soon Run Out Of Enemies

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Matthew [5:44]

Each morning I read and create Twitter posts or tweets. One of my favorite things to do is read what the everyday Twitter person has to say theologically. And each day, I get a new insight and become amazed at how astute and thoughtful the tweets are. Recently, I read; If you love your enemies, you will soon run out of enemies. As I thought about this statement throughout the day I became convinced that if  I and others held this attitude, what a better world it would be.

Imagine if we all held this attitude. There would be no Cancel Culture. More people would be forgiven. And certainly, there would a whole lot more critical thinking. Instead of us reacting, there would be far more compassion and thoughtfulness in the world. So, I really appreciated this tweet and let the person know how much his tweet made me think.

On the same day, I came across an article about Julian Edelman. Julian is a former MVP of the Superbowl and is also Jewish. I know that people who know me will roll their eyes because I chose to write about one of my favorite NFL stars, who play on my favorite team the Patriots. But bear with me, this is a great story.

Earlier in the week, DeSean Jackson posted a very anti-Semitic quote on Instagram. So repulsive, I will not quote it, other than to say he defamed our Jewish brothers and sisters using a quote from Hitler.

Jackson’s team, the Philadelphia Eagles, immediately and publicly,  strongly condemned the post. Not only that they had long discussions with Jackson and encouraged him to get to know the Jewish community better. By the way, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie, is Jewish.

Now back to Edelman. Edelman in a response posted on Instagram; This world needs a little more love, compassion, and empathy. Julian also reached out to Jackson privately and then posted on Instagram that he and Jackson have agreed to have a deeper conversation. Edelman and Jackson both agreed to visit together with the Holocaust museum and the National Museum of African American History. Then afterward, both will have a conversation to educate each other and grow together.

Likewise, Mitchell Swartz, an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs and Jewish, expressed his point of view about Jackson’s comment by saying;  Our platforms as athletes are a powerful tool, and with them comes immense responsibility. We can all do better. Yes, I agree, not just athletes, but all of us can do better.

I also especially admire how Jackson’s team, the Philadelphia Eagles, handled the situation. They immediately denounced Jackson’s point of view. While at the same time treated the situation as a chance to talk with Jackson. The owner, Jeffrey Lurie, didn’t immediately fire Jackson, instead, he tried to get Jackson to see his point of view. Since that conversation, to Jackson’s credit, he has apologized twice and agreed to begin working with Jewish outreach programs. As well, Jackson has accepted an invitation to visit Auschwitz.

In a world where it has become so easy to dismiss people when they make a mistake, this is a heartening story. A model for the Cancel Culture Mob to follow. So much of our country’s problems should be handled this way. A deep recognition that we all make mistakes and should be given a chance to hear the other side’s point of view. Being Cancelled only creates more hostility.

Edelman didn’t attack Jackson, instead, he looked for an opportunity to create a friend and ally. He posted the following to explain his position; I have seen DeSean play in his career, make outstanding football plays, we’ve communicated over social media. I’ve got nothing but respect for his game. I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation.

Edelman, Swartz, and Lurie could have said and done some ugly things to Jackson, like firing him and turning their back to Jackson. Instead, they sought to build bridges of understanding. In a time when it has become fashionable to do the opposite.

Perhaps no group has suffered more violence than our Jewish brothers in sisters, during the Holocaust two-thirds of the entire Jewish European population was murdered or six million people. We should also know that twenty percent of all Nobel prizes have been awarded to the Jewish community. Each year, up to forty percent of the Oscars are awarded to a Jewish artist, director, or producer. Amazing statistics when you consider at close to fifteen million, they represent less than  1% of the world’s population.

I am so amazed that a group of people, who have been so persecuted, produce so much for our society. They don’t seek to play the victim. They instead look to build.

Jesus has told us; But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. These actions towards Jackson are what Jesus was talking about. Jesus is simply asking us to look to build up and not tear down. To treat every person respectfully and when we disagree, disagree with love.

Too often lately, I see how people are quickly dismissed. I see people ending friendship over just one point of difference. Instead of trying to understand and being balanced, too many are easily offended. They cancel friendships and lose the opportunity to know more.

As I thought about this story and Desean Jackson, my Twitter friend is right; If you love your enemies, you will soon run out of enemies. It doesn’t surprise me that our Jewish brothers and sisters gave us an example of what Jesus was talking about. What kind of world would we live in if we followed Jesus’s request and my friend’s advice?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

 

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

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