About the Post

Author Information

Brandon Andress is the author of AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (April 2013) and Unearthed: How Discovering the Kingdom of God Will Transform the Church and Change the World (2010). He lives in Columbus, Indiana and writes for his popular blogs Brandon Andress and A Joyful Procession. Brandon earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and his BA in Psychology from Hanover College. He loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, and traveling. For more information visit: www.andthentheendwillcome.com

love-your-enemies

being Jesus to atheists, homosexuals, and abortionists…

One Sunday we showed up at our rented church building.

Someone had spray painted a Nazi swastika on the front of the building.

We didn’t pay much attention to it as it looked like the work of some foolish children.

But after a couple of weeks the swastika was still there.

I heard some people in our church musing over an idea to use spray paint to turn the swastika into a cross.

I didn’t pay much attention to the idea.

I thought everyone was just having fun with ways to “redeem” a terrible symbol.

I didn’t think they were serious.

However, a few days later I was riding my bike passed our building, I noticed that, sure enough, the swastika had been transformed into a cross.

With the word “love” written beside it.

I didn’t say anything about it.

But I did not like what had been done.

As I anticipated, my fears came to fruition.

I returned back to the building later in the week to find that the word “NAZI” had been spray-painted on the building again.

And this time along the entire front of the building.

Including the windows.

This was retaliation for our naive move.

Lesson learned.

Violence begets more violence.

Even when it is just spray paint.

Here’s the point.

When we respond to people in the same way they treat us… the vicious cycle begins.

One group tries to rise above the other group.

Tit-for-tat.

Eye for eye.

Tooth for tooth.

Retaliating.

Responding.

Escalating.

This approach creates more hostility and divisiveness and antagonism and conflict.

This approach NEVER changes hearts.

It may change behavior for a bit.

But it NEVER changes hearts.

It just embitters and callouses and hardens and begs for retaliation.

The cycle never ends.

Unless someone stops the cycle.

And that someone has to be us.

The followers of Christ.

The proclaimers and extenders of the kingdom.

Our way must be the lowly and humble and meek and loving and blessed and non-retaliating approach of our Christ.

Our way must be the way of Christ, the peacemaker.

No other way will do.

Because when one submits in love… the cycle stops.

That’s the way of Jesus.

And it has to be our way as well- to atheists, to homosexuals, to evolutionists, to members of different political ideologies, to abortionist, and anyone else we perceive as “fighting us” or “waging war against us” or “jamming their agenda down our throats.”

It is only the way of Jesus and the kingdom that changes hearts and changes minds.

And it is that way that will eventually change the world.

But that is the true dilemma.

How will we ever respond to real affliction and persecution in the way of Jesus and his kingdom… if we neglect the way of Jesus and his kingdom when other people simply inconvenience us or frustrate us?

How will we ever love someone who beats us and is trying to crush us… when we don’t even love those who simply make fun of Christianity with their words?

How will we ever bless someone who imprisons us… when we don’t even bless the atheist who says God doesn’t exist?

How will we ever humbly and lovingly serve someone who takes everything from us… when we don’t even serve those who try to remove “In God We Trust” from our currency, who try to remove the Ten Commandments from public property, who keep Creationism out of the public school system, or who try to keep prayer out of school? 

How will we ever say “Father forgive them” about someone who kills our loved ones… when we don’t even ask God to forgive someone who paints our church building or who steals something belonging to our church?

How will we ever be entrusted and given more of this kingdom to extend… if we can’t even be trusted with a little?

The truth is that we have a lot of kingdom to discover and embody before we will ever be prepared for anything that resembles “End Times” affliction.

For if we are not like Jesus when times are relatively easy, there is no way we will ever be like him if our lives grow increasingly difficult and hostile.

This text is a modified excerpt from AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (www.andthentheendwillcome.com)

peace…

brandon

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17 Comments on “being Jesus to atheists, homosexuals, and abortionists…”

  1. brandonandress June 10, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Reblogged this on brandonandress.

  2. Vicky Hensley June 10, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    But, we must love someone enough to tell them the truth….in love of course.

    • Like an Olive Tree April 9, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Without a relationship, telling them the truth, even in love is antagonistic. Pray for our “enemies”, reach out to them where they are without an initial visible, agenda (even one that gives them eternal life) and then they will be open by the drawing of the Holy Spirit and our words will resonate because they are receptive as a friend speaking to a friend. As a stranger, without relation, your words are swords…not love.

  3. Harbin77 June 10, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I feel we have stepped aside far too long letting the world dictate what we as christens can and cannot do. When we set on our hands and let them take prayer out of our schools just gave them the power to walk all over us. Just as Jesus took a stand and kicked the din of thieves out of the House of the Lord we need to take back our right to pray and worship where we can. Even if we show the world that they can’t push us around only in a loving way we will heap hot coals on their head.
    Your’s in Christ. Jim

    • Chris Basham June 13, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      Prayer has not been taken out of schools. Children are free to pray in school whenever they like, as long as the activity isn’t sponsored by the state… probably a good thing for a Muslim child that would otherwise be dictated to pray to a God he or she doesn’t believe in.

      • swichkoski June 13, 2013 at 8:10 am #

        Exactly…well said!

  4. swichkoski June 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    Good word Brandon! In reading the comment above and what I’ve seen in so many Christian circles is that the Body of Christ needs to grow up and learn to steward the truth they know in the way Jesus actually would if He were allowed to live His life in us as He should. Yes, Jesus overturned tables and corrected Pharisees but 1) that was Jesus 2) His displays of kindness were far greater than the few incidences of correction and 3) what He finished at the cross and in His resurrection brought reconciliation for ALL man kind forever (Romans 5:10-11; Col. 3:10-11).

    When the Spirit of Truth brings truth to us He does it in a way that brings us up to the place of stewarding that information/circumstance with Him for the benefit of others; when the enemy shows us “truth” he will always lead us into a spin on it, through the wounds of the soul or a judgmental lens, that justifies our position against others. When we use the word as justification to be against someone we are actually resisting what He’s doing in them…

  5. Toni Sprandel June 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    great post! some very awesome points to consider. Thank you!

  6. Kate June 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Not sure why painting the cross over a swastika is violent or retaliation. Seems evil can never be appeased.

    • brandonandress June 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      painting the cross wasn’t violent or retaliation… but it is the tit-for-tit, eye-for-an-eye mentality that begs for escalation. we just need need to “put down our arms,” as Jesus would say and be at peace.

  7. Kris June 11, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Yes!

  8. paulanderson13 June 11, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Good words Brandon. Our 1st reaction to offense is often retaliation in some form….even if it is meant in love. In this case, maybe the best reaction would have been to just clean up the paint and pray? I don’t know. Love covers all, even if we don’t see the results. Jesus is in control……I’m so glad for this. It’s my job to show love…..Jesus takes care of the rest. I like that. God Bless. – Paul

  9. euqilegna23 June 14, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    Reblogged this on Love Expressed.

  10. mrteague June 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Really good points & questions. Thank you for sharing :)

  11. jesseevans November 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Great discussion. Its always hard with this. People to often fear and demonize the things they disagree with. Christians can stand firm against things they believe to be wrong but you can do so in creative ways that help people to see that you love them because Christ loves you. This is the Apostle John’s message in his epistles. Of course you actually have to Love people if your going to attempt to make them feel love. If you have no love for those whose lifestyle of choices you disagree with then you have a serious problem at the core. Of course we also tend to drift to an other error. Just because we may have a deep real love for these people does not mean you agree with all of their choices. Its important to hold ground on essentials. I think at the core we all have to really ask ourselves if we actually love them. We need to love them for real. :)

    • Sandee Wichkoski November 2, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      ” I think at the core we all have to really ask ourselves if we actually love them. We need to love them for real.”…well said! That right there is why so many don’t want what Christianity has to offer…they aren’t rejecting God; they’re rejecting our image of God. The one we tend to offer is devoid of true love and acceptance…instead of opening their eyes to the reality that they are made in His image we try to force our image of Him on them…

  12. Like an Olive Tree April 9, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Very much enjoyed your post. The greatest commandment is LOVE, not judgment. Our words of truth hold no value when there is not a relationship with those that disagree with us…we must first call them down from the tree or go to their home where they are.

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