Ever heard anyone say, “Well now we’ve seen your true colours”? It’s usually when someone has acted in a way that is surprising yet the way they have acted shows what they are truly like. I’m thinking that Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series is a great example of this. All through the series we think he is a bitter man who is motivated by hate and that he only wants to harm Harry. Yet when he dies, we see that his true character is marked by love and he has always had a deep-seated desire to protect Harry.
This week we are continuing our look at the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s account of Jesus. If we were surprised last week by the fact that God cares for those who are poor, hungry, upset and outcast we’re in for another shock when we hear that Jesus calls us to love those who hate us and to do good things for those who want to harm us! We are called to bless those who curse us, to give to those who we would want to see harmed and to forgive and pray for those who hurt us. The golden rule as far as Jesus is concerned is to do to others what we would like them to do to us. Even if they are our enemies!
The reasoning is simple, hurting those who hurt us and only loving those who love us makes us no different from everyone else. Jesus calls us to live in a different way. When we love our enemies, we show the true nature of God to the world. God loves those who hate God, God is merciful, gracious and forgiving to everyone, even God’s enemies. So just as Jesus lived this way and revealed God’s character to us, so must we live in this way to reveal God’s character to those we meet. We’ve been guilty of creating an impression that God is mean spirited, quick to judge and wants to spoil our lives. Jesus shows us the true nature of God. God wants us to be reconciled to God and each other, to live lives of joy and love, peace and plenty in a just and fair society. Let’s recommit ourselves to showing the true character of God through how we live; loving, gracing and forgiving all.
(Photo – Alan Rickman portraying Professor Snape)