Theology Tuesday: Whom Do You Serve?
That’s a hard message to hear. We wonder who Christ was talking to, and if it really applied to everything!
I like to discuss love often. One of the key elements of love is that we want the best for the object of our love. Realizing this may make loving our enemies easier. You see, loving an enemy doesn’t mean you condone his actions. But what does it mean?
I know what some of us may say – that loving our neighbors is best suited by defeating them, to provide a better life and opportunities for others. After all, they attack our ideals, our values, and the lives of others through their policies and legal wrangling, and continue to try to do so. Isn’t a rapid response with maximum force the best? I would say that the majority of Americans feel like this about those on the other side of the fence:
Love your enemies and do good to them that hate and use you--- is this not the despicable philosophy of the spaniel that rolls upon it's back when kicked? Hate your enemies with a whole heart, and if a man smite you on one cheek, SMASH him in the other! Smite him hip and thigh, for self preservation is the highest law! He who turns the other cheek is a cowardly dog! Give blow for blow, scorn for scorn, doom for doom--- with compound interest liberally added thereunto! Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, aye four-fold, a hundred-fold! Make yourself a terror to your adversary, and when he goeth his way, he will posses much additional wisdom to ruminate over. Thus shall you make yourself respected in all walks of life, and your Spirit----your Immortal Spirit---- shall live, not in an intangible paradise, but in the brains and sinews of those whose respect you have gained.
I think that those sound like the words out of a 1943 Marine manual, myself.
Compare it with this:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Clearly, that is a difference of positions as wide as any found in politics today. Furthermore, neither seems to be the specific property of one party or the other. Instead I would place both parties in the camp of the first text with regards to the ways they speak of each other.
What about you? Honestly, how do you approach those whom you know to be on the other team? Not what should you do, but what do you do?
Now that you have considered the question, I should divulge the origins of those two quotes. The second many will recognize as part of the Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, the 5th Chapter, verses 38-45.
The first quote?
It is from Book III of the Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey.
Whom do you serve?