I needed to run by the house in-between errand stops on a sketchy winter weather morning a few years ago. The cloudy sky and frigid temperatures had done nothing to melt the spotty patches of black ice on the street. Slowly driving down our street, I remember thinking, “I should pull into the garage before I get out, just in case there’s any ice on the driveway.”
But I was in a hurry. It would take longer to wait for the garage door to open and pull in, than it would to go in for the item I needed. So, I parked in the driveway, left the car running, got out, and started carefully toward the house. If you’ve ever wondered about people who’ve fallen on ice and say the first thing they knew they were hitting the ground… wonder no more.
I don’t remember falling. I do remember the full force of my shoulder being pounded into the concrete. For a moment, I thought I would pass out from the pain. With nobody home, out of the line sight from the street, and the temperature in the single digits… being unconscious didn’t sound like a great idea. I rolled over, managed to stagger up, and on into the house.
Just because something is easier, doesn’t make it good.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you… You have heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you…” (Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44, CEB)
Rather than retaliate, Jesus calls his followers to live out tough love when others seek to harm them; to love and pray for enemies. As biblical scholar Doulas Hare asks, “Why does Jesus expect the impossible of us?” Maybe it’s because tough love is redemptive for both those so loved… and for those so loving.
Who would know better than Jesus?
Your partner on the journey,