Enemy. That's a word we don't use very often, right? Who are your enemies? It's hard to think about. How about this: who's mistreated you, asked too much of you, hurt you, insulted you? Does that make it easier to think of some specific people? I think that for most of us, it certainly does. These people may be perfectly nice people, not bad people, but they did something maybe even once that changed that.* They broke our trust; they left us out. Somehow, you are faced with this person, and there is conflict. What do we do with that? Biological we have this fight or flight reaction. Which one do you lean towards? Does conflict always escalate to some sort of confrontation? Or is it something you avoid at all costs? Last night, we talked about the idea that maybe there is some middle ground, some other way. A way to look past our desire to settle the score. A way to take the focus off of ourselves and what we think is best, or right, or fair, or just. A way besides giving people what we think they deserve. We talked about the idea of living out grace. If grace is this concept that God hasn't given us what we deserve. What if we turn that around, and rather than fighting or flight-ing, we decide to cancel the debts, to not give people what we think they deserve, or what they maybe do deserve? What if we let the cycle of hurt be broken? What if we don't get caught in the pay back? What if we act out grace? And not just to the people who are easy to love, the ones who love us well. But to the ones that are harder to love to. Because then we can be different kinds of people. We won't just love the ones who love us--that's what everyone does. Let's try to do something hard. Something different. And for those of us who gel with this idea of Jesus, maybe that's a better representation of what he's about? Maybe it's a better representation of him than what's out there. Maybe that's what Georgia Tech, Atlanta, the world, needs.
To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. -Gilbert Keith Chesterton
*We are not trying to say at all that you should re-connect or allow yourself to be a victim of someone who has hurt you, abused you, physically, mentally, emotionally. Those situations are not okay or acceptable ways to treat people, and we would never want you to insert yourself in an unsafe situation.