November 19th, 2006
In the 1970s, Idi Amin was perhaps the most hated dictator in the world, and hundreds of thousands of people had been murdered and tortured by him. Bishop Festo Kivengere was one of his most vocal opponents and his family and friends had suffered much at the hands of Idi Amin. However, rather than comdemning Idi Amin, Festo wrote a profoundly moving book entitled “I love Idi Amin”. Festo Kivengere’s approach to life seems to be a far cry from the models presented by supposedly “Christian” leaders today, but Festo’s approach was directly in line with Jesus’s teaching: Love your enemies, do good to people who hate you.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 6
6:1 As Jesus was walking through the grain fields one Sabbath day, his disciples picked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands and ate. 6:2 Some Pharisees asked them, “Why are you acting unlawfully on the Sabbath day?”
6:3 Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 6:4 He went into the house of God and ate the sacred bread, and gave it to his companions, although it was unlawful for anyone but the priests to eat it.” 6:5 He said, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
6:6 On another Sabbath day he went into the synagogue to teach. There was a man there whose right hand was deformed. 6:7 The religious lawyers and Pharisees watched him to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a reason to accuse him. 6:8 But he knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the deformed hand, “Get up, and stand in front of everybody.” He got up and stood. 6:9 Then Jesus said, “Let me ask you something: Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” 6:10 He looked around at them all, then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his hand was healed, just like the other. 6:11 But they were outraged, and discussed what they might do to Jesus.
6:12 Around that time he went to a mountain to pray, continuing all night in prayer to God. 6:13 When day arrived he summoned his disciples and chose twelve of them to be called apostles: 6:14 Simon whom he also named Peter, his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 6:15 Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 6:16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who later became a traitor. 6:17 He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a crowd of followers, and a lot of people from throughout Judea and Jerusalem and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and be healed of their diseases. 6:18 Those who were troubled by unclean spirits were healed. 6:19 All the crowd tried to touch him, because power came out from him to heal them all.
6:20 He looked up at his disciples and said,
“Blessed are you who are poor, because the Kingdom of God is yours.
6:21 Blessed are you are hungry now, because you will be full.
Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh.
6:22 Blessed are you when people hate you and discriminate against you and mock you and blacken your name for the Son of Man’s sake. 6:23 Rejoice when that happens and jump for joy, because you have a big reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same thing to the prophets.
6:24 But woe to you who are rich, because you have received your consolation.
6:25 Woe to you who are full now, because you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, because you will mourn and weep.
6:26 Woe when people speak well of you, because their ancestors did the same thing to the false prophets.
6:27 “I tell everyone listening: love your enemies, do good to people who hate you, 6:28 bless people who curse you, and pray for people who mistreat you. 6:29 When someone slaps you on one cheek, offer them the other as well. When someone takes away your coat, let them take your shirt as well. 6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask someone who takes away your goods to give them back again.
6:31 “Do the same things for other people as you would like them to do for you. 6:32 What credit do you deserve if you love those who love you? Even sinners love those who love them. 6:33 What credit do you deserve if you do good to those who do good to you? Even sinners do the same. 6:34 What credit do you deserve if you lend to people who will pay you back? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get paid back. 6:35 Instead, love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back, and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
6:36 “So be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 6:37 Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free.
6:38 “Give, and you will get. A generous amount, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing will be given to you. What you receive will be measured by the same standard which you apply in giving to others.”
6:39 He told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 6:40 A student is not more important than a teacher, but everyone who completes their studies becomes like the teacher. 6:41 Why do you see the speck in your friend’s eye, but fail to notice the plank of wood in your own eye? 6:42 How can you ask your friend, ‘Can I take that speck out of your eye?’ when the plank of wood is blocking your own vision? Hypocrite! Get the plank out of your own eye first, so you can see your friend’s eye clearly enough to remove the speck. 6:43 No good tree produces rotten fruit, and no rotten tree produces good fruit. 6:44 Each tree is known by its own fruit. People don’t pick figs from thorns, and they don’t pick grapes from a bramble bush. 6:45 Good people bring good things out of the goodness stored up in their hearts, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in their hearts. The contents of your heart determine what you say.
6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but don’t do what I say? 6:47 Let me show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears what I say, and obeys it. 6:48 That person is like a person building a house, who dug deeply to lay a foundation on the rock. A flood came and the river swept around that house but could not shake it because it was founded on the rock. 6:49 But someone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who built a house on the earth without a foundation. The river swept around it and it fell down at once, and the house was totally wrecked.”