Society seems as divided as ever. Left. Right. Masks. Guns. Choice. Immigration. School curriculums. Lines are drawn. Families are unfriended. Friends are blocked.

Today, enemies are too easily created. Hatred, conflict, and vengeance, too commonplace.


Jesus wouldn’t have it. He taught a radically different way of living. He befriended enemies. He welcomed them. Even loved them. And he told us to do the same. What?


There was a lot of hate and political division in Jesus’ time too. Take the Jews and the Samaritans. These two groups had hated each other for generations – for lots of reasons.


Jesus told a story about a Jewish man traveling on foot who was robbed, beaten, stripped of his clothes, and left for dead on the side of the road. Soon after, the beaten Jew was passed by a Jewish priest and then again by another fellow Jew. Neither stopped to help.


Later, a Samaritan came upon the beaten man. The Samaritan didn’t see a Jew. He saw a fellow human in need of help. The Samaritan clothed and bandaged the beaten Jew and paid a nearby innkeeper to look after him.

Jesus encouraged all who would listen to do the same. “Love your enemies,” he said. And pray for those who would do you harm.


And Jesus didn’t just teach it. He lived it, right up till the day he died.


While on the cross, crucified by his enemies, Jesus in a confounding display of radical love, prayed forgiveness for those who were brutalizing and killing him.


Even as he died, Jesus provided a powerful model by which to live.

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