Using the following scripture as the text for the sermon:
While you are reading this content please consider whether you believe the homeless people you may encounter are your enemies or whether the fact that homelessness exists at the levels it does should be a cause you treat as your enemy & your action towards that enemy is doing everything you can to support ending it (one act of love at a time) so that this is the way you show your love for the cause, your enemy!
Matthew 5:43-47/48 (NLT)
TEACHING ABOUT LOVE FOR ENEMIES
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’* and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies!* Pray for those who persecute you!45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
We then watched the following video to set the stage for a series of questions to solicit thought, dialog & learning about our own reactions to dealing with enemies:
The following questions were presented & revealed in order, one at a time for consideration & discussion (PowerPoint style):
- How do we identify an enemy?
- How does God use “our enemies” in our own lives? What are wrong ways to love our enemies?
- What is being said about God when we choose to NOT love our enemies?
- What is being said about God when we choose to love our enemies?
- What happens to us personally when we choose to love our enemies or to NOT love our enemies?
The materials above were provided courtesy of The Sycamore Church (be sure to notice on their website the event they are putting together on 9/18/10, a Resurrection Dance event in Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA – their interest in doing this event is stated as reaching out & “… helping to break down the walls that often separate our city”) – other related articles & comments relating to homelessness are from this bloggers perspective.
Feel free to answer these questions in our comments section after reading the scripture & then viewing the video!
Then tell us what effect this independent study session has done for you!
If you choose to read the comments & develop your own answers by agreeing or disagreeing with the other commentors then take that approach if it feels better to you.
The related articles below were chosen for the inclusive nature we desire for the discussions & audience for our writings & advocacy – please understand that they are chosen to give an equal treatment of various religions perspectives on topics we write about… The chosen articles also take on the expansion of enemy to current debate on Muslim & Islamic issues as it relates to treatment of “enemies” we are dealing with in today’s hot topics.
- The Wesleyan Quadrilateral Step by Step 5 (by T) (beliefnet.com)
- Saturday Afternoon Book Review: Nate Wigfield (beliefnet.com)
- A Great Big Pile Of Burning Coals (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- Deep Calls To Deep (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- Testing Our Authenticity (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- Understanding the Fruit of the Spirit of God (brighthub.com)
- Am I Truly Saved? (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- Thinking Christianly about Islam, Muslims, and the Ground-Zero Mosque – Part 2 of 3 (dakotavoice.com)
- Letter: On the low road (commercialappeal.com)
- Those It Is Acceptable to Hate (gatheringinlight.com)
- Hospitality — A Report from an Iftar Dinner (pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com)
- Mary Ann West: Standing In Solidarity Against Islamophobia (huffingtonpost.com)