LOVE: FROM THE BOOK "750 ENGAGING ILLUSTRATIONS"
LOVE FOR ENEMIES
In Context, Martin Marty retells a parable from the Eye of the
A holy man was engaged in his morning meditation under a tree
whose roots stretched out over the riverbank. During his
meditation he noticed that the river was rising, and a scorpion
caught in the roots was about to drown. He crawled out on the
roots and reached down to free the scorpion, but every time he
did so, the scorpion struck back at him.
An observer came along and said to the holy man, "Don't you know
that's a scorpion, and it's in the nature of a scorpion to want
To which the holy man replied, "That may well be, but it is my
nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion
does not change its nature?"
In "The Grace of Giving," Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist
pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in
Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George
In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded sort who
did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor.
One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to
die. Peter Miller traveled seventy miles on foot to Philadelphia
to plead for the life of the traitor.
"No, Peter," General Washington said, "I cannot grant you the
life of your friend."
"My friend!" exclaimed the old preacher. "He's the bitterest
enemy I have."
"What?" cried Washington. "You've walked seventy miles to save
the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in a different light.
I'll grant your pardon." And he did. Peter Miller took Michael
Wittman back home to Ephrata - no longer an enemy, but a friend.
In "The Northwestern Lutheran," Joel C. Gerlach writes:
Eight times the Ministry of Education in East Germany said no to
Uwe Holmer's children when they tried to enroll at the university
in East Berlin. The Ministry of Education doesn't usually give
reasons for its rejection of applications for enrollment. But in
this case the reason wasn't hard to guess.
Uwe Holmer, the father of the eight applicants, is a Lutheran
pastor at Lobetal, a suburb of East Berlin. For 26 years the
Ministry of Education was headed by Margot Honecker, wife of East
Germany's premier, Erich Honecker. . . . [Then] when the Berlin
wall cracked . . . Honecker and his wife were unceremoniously
dismissed from office. He is now under indictment for criminal
activities during his tenure as premier.
At the end of January the Honeckers were evicted from their
luxurious palace in Vandlitz, an exclusive suburb of palatial
homes reserved for the vets in the party. The Honeckers suddenly
found themselves friendless, without resources, and with no place
to go. None of their former cronies showed them any of the
humanitarianism communists boast about. No one wanted to identify
with the Honeckers.. . .
Enter Uwe Holmer. Remembering the words of Jesus, "If someone
strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,"
Holmer extended an invitation to the Honeckers to stay with his
family in the parsonage of the parish church in Lobetal. . . .
Pastor Holmer has not reported that the Honeckers have renounced
their atheism and professed faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
But at least they fold their hands and bow their heads when the
family prays together. Who knows what the Holmers' faith-
inaction plan will lead to before this extraordinary episode
LOVE OF GOD
In his book "Enjoying God," Lloyd Ogilvie writes:
A factory employee named Kenneth worked for the largest
manufacturer in Illinois for twenty-four years. The wages and
benefits paid at his factory were double what the average factory
job paid in America. He had steady work. He was forty-four years
old, yet he had never attended a union meeting. He was a
contented, middle-class worker-until 1992.
From 1992 until 1994 you could find Kenneth at the end of the day
shift parading through the factory, holding an American flag
along with two other workers, chanting, "No contract. No peace.
No contract. No peace." Kenneth called out the cadences for about
one hundred middle-age marchers.
What turned a contented worker into a thorn in this
manufacturer's side? The turning point came in 1992, after the
union had been on strike for nearly six months, when the company
threatened to replace its striking workers.
That did something to Kenneth. It turned him bitterly against his
company. Kenneth angrily explains, "I finally realized two years
ago, when they threatened to replace us, that as far as they are
concerned, I am nothing to them."
I am nothing to them - Kenneth's whole attitude changed when he
concluded, whether rightly or wrongly, that he had no worth to
the company, that he was replaceable, that they didn't care about
him as a person. Even the toughest, manliest laborer in America
craves loyalty, craves to have others care.
There is only one place where we are assured of that. God values
us and cares for us so much that even when we "went on strike" -
rejecting his will for our lives - instead of rejecting us in
return, he sent his Son to die for our sins.
Bitterness, Faithfulness, Men, Significance John 3:16; Rom.
12:10;1 Peter 5:7
In his book Enjoying God, Lloyd Ogilvie writes:
My formative years ingrained the quid pro quo into my attitude
toward myself: do and you'll receive; perform and you'll be
loved. When I got good grades, achieved, and was a success, I
felt acceptance from my parents. My dad taught me to fish and
hunt and worked hard to provide for us, but I rarely heard him
say, "Lloyd, I love you." He tried to show it in actions, and
sometimes I caught a twinkle of affirmation in his eyes. But I
still felt empty.
When I became a Christian, I immediately became so involved in
discipleship activities that I did not experience the profound
healing of the grace I talked about theoretically. . . .
I'll never forget as long as I live the first time I really
experienced healing grace. I was a postgraduate student at the
University of Edinburgh. Because of financial pressures I had to
accordion my studies into a shorter than usual period. Carrying a
double load of classes was very demanding, and I was exhausted by
the constant feeling of never quite measuring up. No matter how
good my grades were, I thought they could be better. Sadly, I was
not living the very truths I was studying. Although I could have
told you that the Greek words for grace and joy are "charis" and
"chara," I was not experiencing them.
My beloved professor, Dr. James Stewart, that slightly built
dynamo of a saint, saw into my soul with x-ray vision. One day in
the corridor of New College he stopped me. He looked me in the
eye intensely. Then he smiled warmly, took my coat lapels in his
hands, drew me down to a few inches from his face, and said,
"Dear boy, you are loved now!"
God loves us now, not when we get better. God loves us now, as we
Acceptance, Fathers, Grace, Joy John 3:16; Rom. 5:8;1 Peter 1:8;1
THAT IS TRUE AS GOD IS LOVE, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE NOT TO
CHANGE - BE CONVERTED - TO HIS WILL AND WAY OF LIFE - Keith Hunt
Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play major league
baseball. While breaking baseball's color barrier, he faced
jeering crowds in every stadium.
While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he
committed an error. His own fans began to ridicule him. He stood
at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered.
Then shortstop "Pee Wee" Reese came over and stood next to him.
He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The
fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder
saved his career.
GOD LOVES US EVEN WHEN OTHERS DO NOT - Keith Hunt
To be continued