A quick scroll through a news feed and you will see new daily reports of violence, evil and hate in our world. Hearts burning for revenge, minds clouded with despair and anger turned towards destruction. Horrendous crimes are being committed against the unsuspecting, some closer to home than others. Many atrocities go unreported, the victims too poor or insignificant to garner the attention of the world. How are we suppose to respond to such evil?
Jesus disciples thought they knew the heart of God. As they read through the Old Testament they saw that such evil was met with fire and destruction, and when these disciples saw Jesus being disrespected and rejected they thought it was time to call down fire just like Elijah did. But Jesus response shocked them,
“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Luke 9:55
Jesus is the exact representation of The Father and He did not want to destroy people for their wickedness. He wanted to save them from their wickedness. That is the whole point of Jesus life, death and resurrection. But just in case we missed it, He taught His disciples how to respond to evil and beat it.
In Luke 6 Jesus addresses how to deal with those who persecute you. Instead of calling down fire and curses, He calls for the victims to,
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you…” Luke 6:27-28
Can you imagine what would happen if every time someone hurt us, or slandered us, or bombed us, that we responded with love? If we instead of banning, blocking, or bombing we did good works for them? If instead of slandering, sharing unkind memes, and pronouncing judgments that we blessed them? If instead of talking to God about how hurt we are, we spoke to God about how we could help these people?
Jesus is aware that this is counter-cultural and revolutionary way of life will not always result in things going our way. Jesus is well aware that the persecution will not always stop, that the violence may not end straight away. Jesus way of life lead to Him being publicly tortured and executed naked upon a cross. But it was this act that demonstrated His love for us, and showed that we were reconciled to God. God was not waiting to punish us, but waiting for us to respond to His love. It is this demonstration of love that begins to tug on the heart of the oppressor. Jesus logic does not make much sense until you read a little further along,
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Jesus knows that evil starts in the heart. Hearts that have been deceived, beaten, bruised, and abused. This is why Jesus did not tell us to respond to evil with force or punishment – how would that change someones heart? It wouldn’t, it would only strengthen their case, justify their actions, and cause them to dive deeper into their perverted sense of justice. Jesus tells us to respond with an active demonstration of love because love is the only thing that can defeat hate and heal hearts.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8) But He didn’t bring bombs, legal rulings, or prisons to the fight. He brought self sacrificing, always accepting love. He demonstrated His love for all humanity as humanity nailed Him to the cross. And as He did, defeated the power of sin, the devil and darkness. Will you do the same?