Love Your Enemies

As of today, the riots and protests have calmed down. There are no images of burning cities on cable news, there has been no high profile atrocity in recent weeks, and it’s been a few days since the last act of mass violence against the innocent. Yet, the underlying divide that fuels that unrest remains.

Our nation is deeply divided. Deep divisions in philosophy, religion, world view, and visions for the future have always existed. America was built upon a foundation of faultlines, which, at times, have resulted in political earthquakes of epic proportions.

We’ve seen those faultlines erupt in recent years, and our society is exhausted.

The challenge for our nation is how to heal those faultlines. How can you bring the nation together under one unifying concept when our views, desires and convictions are so different?

In times past, we sought to persuade each other to join our side. When that didn’t work, we learned to live together while ignoring or downplaying our differences. This is why for decades, the ethic was to never discuss religion or politics.

However, in recent years, the ethic has arisen that silence is consent, and tolerating your opponents equates endorsing them. Endorsing them therefore equates endorsing evil. Therefore, we must stand and defeat our enemies whenever they surface.

And thus births the new American society, a society in which dissention is opposition and opposition is evil, therefore those of a different mindset are our enemies, and our enemies are to be defeated.

This is evident in the political sphere, where supporters of political opponents (not the candidates, but the supporters of those candidates) are branded as deplorable, cancers, communists, fascist, and whatever other dehumanizing term we can find.

In our political sphere, candidates run on platforms, not of a future aspiration of prosperity for the country, but on the eradication of the supporters of the opposing candidates. And instead of shunning that candidate and ending his political career, crowds celebrate and support him.

How can we survive if we continue down this road?

In the 1960s, our country was in a similar position, to the point that Lyndon B. Johnson declined to seek reelection in hopes of helping the country heal.

However, two voices emerged that brought the country healing. The first, being Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s creed of reconciliation, driven by the concept of love for one’s enemies, led a positive transformation in our nation. The second was the collective voice of Chuck Smith and Lonnie Free, who led a spiritual revival across the nation with the message of the Gospel.

Dr. King’s movement grew out of a belief articulated in a sermon he preached called, “Love Your Enemies.” In it, Dr. King discussed the concept of Agape love, how it was selfless, self-reflective, and how it had a redemptive quality that could reconcile enemies.

Smith and Free led a movement of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than reconciliation over earthly differences, the Gospel preached by Smith and Free led people to true redemption, eternal life, and complete healing inside and out.

The same scriptures which have healed our nation before are just as true today as they ever were, and they are more needed today than ever.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Matthew 5:44

At one time, we were all enemies to God. Yet He loved us, and gave His Son to die for our sins so that we could be redeemed and reconciled to Him. Being reconciled to Him, we can be reconciled to each other, and find healing in our divisions.

And by emulating God as we love each other, we can not only find peace in our lives, but we can find healing altogether. Christ promises that this will be rewarded.

So today, as you watch the news and see the angry posts on social media, do not be overtaken by the flesh and the sin nature, and succumb to anger. Instead, remember your redemption, and the love God gave you, and love your enemies, praying for their redemption and healing, because it is out of brokenness in their own personal darkness that they rage.

As you do this, you contribute to our national healing. If enough of us do this, we will realize that healing as a society.

Who is there among you?

Jerusalem Reconstruction

Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

-Ezra 1:3

The Persian king Cyrus had no ties to Jerusalem. There was no sentimentality on his part. He had probably never even been to Jerusalem. Yet, when God stirred his spirit, he was moved to rebuild the house of God at Jerusalem.

Knowing that God’s will was to revive Israel, Cyrus understood that if the reconstruction of the Temple was to truly accomplish its purpose, the Israelites would have to be the ones to rebuild it. Therefore, he challenged God’s people. “Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him.”

Over the past 9 years, I have seen signs posted along the highways of Texas urging residents to pray for our nation. On more than one occasion, our nation has been mentioned as a prayer request during morning services.

And then there’s 2 Chronicles 7:14:

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

We pray for our nation often. We pray that our nation will remain safe, prosperous, that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the same lifestyles we did. More importantly, we pray that God would bring a revival in America. More than a cultural revival, we pray that God would bring a spiritual revival to America.

We’re concerned about more than American traditions. We’re concerned about the soul of America. Historically, our nation has lived by Judeo-Christian values. In recent years, it seems that society is deliberately moving away from those values.

As a result, we see the increase in drug abuse and crime, child abuse, human trafficking, moral degradation and cultural rot. The solutions to these problems cannot be legislated. These are problems that can only be solved by a revival in America. These problems can only be solved by national repentance and a renewed interest in true Christianity. We pray for this to happen.

However, this revival will only be sparked if the people of God will stand up, speak His Gospel, minister to those who hurt, and reach out to those who are lost. If we are to see a spiritual revival in America, we need a generation of Christians to rise up and unabashedly do God’s work.

So, in the words of Cyrus, “Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him.”

Rise up, reach out, and be the influence that leads your friends, family and neighbors to the Lord. Who knows? You may be the spark that ignites a revival in our country.

Leland Acker has served as the pastor of Life Point Baptist Church since its inception in 2008. Life Point meets for Sunday School at 10 a.m., Sunday Worship at 11 a.m., and meetings are held at the Early Chamber of Commerce/Small Business Incubator Facility at 104 E. Industrial Dr. in Early, TX, pending the construction of a new worship facility.