Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday at 10:00 am CT, Adam and Lindsey host a live Girardian Virtual Bible Study following the Sunday lectionary on the Raven Foundation Facebook page. We invite our listeners to join the conversation with comments and questions. I take some notes to help me prepare… and share them with you to help you do the same! This is the Girardian Virtual Bible Study preview!
“Love your enemies.” (Luke 6:27)
Need I say more?
I think so, since these are perhaps the most countercultural, revolutionary, and powerful words of Jesus…
And among the ones most easily weaponized.
What do these words mean to those on the receiving end of bombs, gunfire or violence?
To those who are oppressed by deeply-entrenched power structures?
To those who are abused?
I don’t feel like I have a right to tell others who are hurting to love their enemies.
But when I am hurting, I can follow the loving resistance Jesus spells out in the next few verses. Turn the cheek, give my cloak, walk the extra mile. These are all forms of nonviolent resistance, asserting one’s own dignity while recalling the oppressor to his or her own humanity. That is demanding justice in love. And throughout history, this nonviolent resistance — in the form of marches, boycotts, sit-ins — has been a resistance of love for one’s self and an insistence upon love for and from oppressors.
Jesus’s way of loving resistance has brought forth love in others. But it has also been met with resistance and doubling-down of hatred. It has done wonders to wear down hatred overtime, but it is risky and dangerous in the moment. People have been killed in the midst of loving their enemies. I cannot call on others to take this risk. I can’t even know how far I would take this risk myself.
But as someone who comes from privilege, I am called to love my enemies in another way still.
I am called to repentance not only from my own violence, but from the violence done by the systems that have lifted me up while pushing others down.
As a person of intersectional privilege — race, class, and religion — I am called to intersectional repentance. We who have intersectional privilege are all called to intersectional repentance.
We are called to acknowledge the systems of oppression that are interwoven into the fabric of our identity. We are called to acknowledge how they hurt multiple people and groups at once. And we are called to repent — to listen and heed the callings of those who have been harmed.
We are called to understand how wars waged with our money and in our name harm people abroad and at home, and we are called to speak out out against them.
We are called to understand how economic systems that may have helped our ancestors exploited and impoverished others.
Love calls us to reclaim our own humanity in acknowledging the humanity of those we have denied or marginalized.
These are some of my thoughts for the Girardian Virtual Bible Study on Luke 6:27-38 and Genesis 45:3-11 and 15, the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers. My head is still spinning with thoughts, but I would love to hear yours.
Please join us tomorrow. This is difficult stuff, and we need to work together to understand and apply it to our lives.
Whether you’re a minister preparing your Sunday sermon or a lay person trying to better understand the Bible, whatever you believe, question, or doubt, we warmly invite you to participate with comments and questions as we seek to grow our virtual community. Your presence is more than an honor and a blessing – it’s a necessity! Since we are interdividual beings, growing in relationship with one-another, we need each other! Your participation is an integral part of the Girardian Virtual Bible Study!