The cross and enemies

The-Cross-of-ChristThe cross should affect every relationship in our lives. Including the hardest ones—the people we don’t like. (I’m assuming you have a few of these people in your life, too?)

Here are a few thoughts from John Stott:

The peace that God secures if never cheap peace, but always costly.

To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises.

Justice without mercy is too strict, and mercy without justice too lenient.

What should our attitude be toward evil?

  • Evil is to be hated.
  • Evil is not to be repaid.
  • Evil is to be overcome.
  • Evil is to be punished.

Vengeance and retaliation are first forbidden us, and then attributed to God. Is that not intolerable? No. The reason these things are forbidden us is not because evil does not deserve to be punished (it does, and should be), but because it is God’s prerogative to punish it, not ours.

On the cross, by both demanding and bearing the penalty of sin and so simultaneously punishing and overcoming evil, God displayed and demonstrated his holy love; the holy love of the cross should characterize our response to evil-doers today.

* * *
More on Chapter 12, “Loving Our Enemies” at Challies.

All chapter summaries

Next week:
Last chapter (whew! it’s been a good but tough read) “Suffering and Glory”

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