The above question was asked of Simon Peter. You remember the setting. It is after the resurrection and the disciples, not knowing what to do, decided to go fishing. They have fished all night and caught nothing until a stranger on the shore tells them to cast their nets on the “right side of the boat” and the nets are so full they are unable to haul them in. Perhaps remembering another catch, Peter shouts, “It is the Lord.” and swims to shore. Now they have finished eating (Jesus had the coals ready for the fish) and now the question, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
I thought about this question after recent news reports over the anger and hate that seems to be surfacing in our nation. The recent capture of a leading figure in the Taliban has had one conservative commentator say that he should be taken out and shot. A few days later the news reported a “tea bagger” at an event commented that Washington Senator Murray should be hung. These remarks come from those who probably (though I am not sure) would identify themselves as Christians. If they are, I am not sure I want to be identified with their brand of Christianity—and I am not alone.
Now before you tear this newsletter up – it is not that they do not have a right to speak and feel the way they do. They do. As I do. But, please don't say such and claim to be a follower of my Lord and Savior.
If the New Testament is correct in its portrayal of Jesus would he not seek a higher reaction – the way of love? He sought to change the world through love, not through acts of hatred and violence. The history of the Church is too littered with such acts. We have sought to force the world into our mold when our founder sought to love the world into his mold.
Jesus is speaking to Simon Peter. Peter has just denied him publicly three times. Peter is now instructed to feed and take care of the lambs of Christ. Who are his lambs? John says earlier, “For God so loved the world...” (3:16). If God loves the world than all people in the world are the lambs of Christ. There is no one for whom he did not die. There is no one for whom he did not come. Peter is instructed to love, care and feed these lambs.|
How should we act towards those who would be our enemies? Prayer and love. Go the extra mile. Feed them. Care for them. Demonstrate a love they have never known. Demonstrate a faith they have not yet seen – a faith that stands against all conventional norms. A faith that forgives because those who claim it have been forgiven.