I was reading through Luke 6 a couple of weeks ago and read two verses that I know I’ve read a thousand times before. Luke 6:35-36 says this, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
I guess I had never really seen ‘he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil‘ before. We usually look at kindness and loving others as something that has perks, or something that we do selectively. But Jesus seems to say otherwise. So what if you give cash to the guy with the sign and he looks at you with a ‘is that all?’ look. So what if someone acts entitled to your kindness or if they are outright cruel? ‘Be merciful as your Father is merciful’ even to the evil and ungrateful.
Fr. Festo Kivengere was one of the last persons to see Anglican Archbishop Luwan before Idi Amin killed him. Fr. Festo saw firsthand the brutality of the dictator. This dictator who brutally killed hundreds of thousands. Yet, when asked to talk about Amin’s regime, Fr. Festo wrote a book and called it, I Love Idi Amin. He says “When Jesus was on the cross, he said, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ How could I do any less with Idi Amin?” Therefore he could say, ‘I love Idi Amin.’
I look at the current political wars in many of the mainline churches, especially the Episcopal Church that I am a part of. Yes, I am disappointed at the unwillingness to repent of various heresies and apostasy. And to abandon the Scriptures and the Tradition is grave indeed.
But is there another way besides schism and lawsuits and sword rattling? Do we who are doctrinally correct have the ‘right’ to sue and castigate our opponents?
If God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil and if someone can say ‘I love Idi Amin’ in the name of Jesus, can I love and pray for the leaders of TEC? Is it possible to show mercy as God shows mercy?
Is there a third way?