Love Thy Enemy

Last week Kathy Griffin got herself in hot water after she posted a very push the envelope kind of picture to social media. The pic, if you haven’t seen it won’t be seen here but it was of her holding a bloodied, decapitated head that resembled Donald Trump. 

Naturally, the backlash came from both sides of the political aisle, which if you ask me I think she expected and had a plan for, but what I want to talk about today isn’t about the picture, the backlash or what kind of person Kathy Griffin is for posting such a disturbing picture. Since this is a Christian blog, I want to talk about how Christians should handle things like these.

SOMEONE HAD TO SAY IT:

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES -Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:44

The knee jerk reaction today is to fight fire with fire. It’s even the reaction for many Christians who quote the Exodus 21 law of an eye for an eye (out of context of course). 

I have to admit, my initial reaction to Griffin’s picture was one of disgust, I anticipated and hoped for people to call her out for it, I hoped for her to lose her job and I hoped that she never be seen again as having a status of celebrity. (That may be due to me not caring for her brand of comedy, but nonetheless…) All those things happened except for the celebrity thing, I see now how this will actually help her and perhaps it was the (devious) plan all along, I don’t know. But the fact that I wished for her demise has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me. 

I have a similar feeling when I see other kids pick on my one of my kids, that kid needs a spanking, that kid needs better parents, someone should teach that kid a lesson! I actually have to tell myself, out loud sometimes that that kid is just a kid. I have to remind myself that my kids do bad things too and that from someone else’s shoes, my kid needs a spanking. 

At the core of Jesus’ ministry is love. Love one another (John 13:34), love the Lord (Matthew 22:37), and of course love your enemy (Matthew 5:44) are just a few examples of Jesus’ love teachings. So while I don’t see that kid as my enemy I can see that Jesus left no room for anything but love when it comes to how I, or my child should treat him or her. And the same goes for someone like Kathy Griffin, who would probably be in almost all things the complete opposite of me and what I stand for, Jesus leaves no room for anything less than love towards that person, like-minded or not.  

So what do we do then with those people who do things to provoke that knee jerk reaction from us? Kathy Griffin had to know she would hit a nerve with that pic, despite her denials since then claiming it was supposed to be edgy, artsy or an expression of her first amendment right to free speech, she knew that at the very least Donald Trump’s supporters would find it offensive. She knew that a lot of us have a hard time resisting that urge to react in kind and obviously a lot of people did. Many would say that we can’t just do nothing, what she did deserves consequences and they’re probably right but what I would respond with is “who are we to dole out those consequences?” Have we forgotten Jesus’ reaction to the crowd that brought Him the woman caught in adultery? 

If we must do something and that something must align with the teachings of Jesus then whatever we do should resemble Jesus while at the same time….no, not the same time anything, it should resemble Jesus and that’s it. I brought up the woman caught in the act of adultery, according to the law at that time the leaders had every right to stone her – she broke the law and the punishment for that was death. Jesus comes along and points out the fact that all (except Him) have sinned and that if they wish to carry out the law on her they should feel free to do so but only after examining themselves and their sins. If they could honestly say they were free of sin, than go ahead, cast the first stone. You know the story, one by one they drop their stones and walk away leaving nobody but Jesus who, ironically enough had no sin, He could’ve stoned her and it would be right to do so. Of course, Jesus being Jesus does not do that, He acknowledges that she sinned, tells her to sin no more and lets her carry on. You can read the story on John 8:1-11. 

So, let’s say Kathy Griffin is the woman caught in sin. She knows what she did is wrong and so does everyone else. Are we wrong to call her out and seek justice on her? Not necessarily. But ask yourself, what good would that do? Besides giving her lynch mob the satisfaction of knowing they destroyed her, not a single good thing would come out of that. Now, if we were to truly practice what Jesus taught, we could instead examine ourselves, search our souls for the sins we don’t want to confess and see that maybe, for the moment, Kathy did something pretty bad, but you have in yourself angry feelings towards her that Jesus compared to murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Which one of you deserves the consequences of their sin? Her, or both of you? 

That brings me to the gospel. Romans 6:23 says that sin brings death, but Jesus brings life. Since all have sinned, all deserve death. Since Jesus came, all can receive the life we don’t deserve. Whether it’s my sin of anger or Kathy Griffin’s sin of anger towards Trump, we both deserve death according to the law. The difference is I’ve accepted the salvation that Jesus accomplished, Kathy Griffin? Well, I don’t know her heart, I can’t judge. 

The long and short of it is this – she sinned, but she may not see it that way. You’ve sinned and hopefully you can see that and repent of them. If we truly love our enemies the way Jesus taught, our reaction towards her wouldn’t be one of hatred or anger, it would look like what Jesus did in John chapter 8. 

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