Nikole Mitchell of Woodland Hill Church (of Greg Boyd fame) offers an unorthdox–but biblical–suggestion this Memorial Day: mourn our enemies’ deaths.
We should mourn the loss of all life. Because our identity and duty is first to Christ, not our nation, we are to give worth and faces and names to our ‘enemies’; therefore, imitating Christ in His love for us, His enemies. And while we crucified Jesus for His scandalous love, His love continues on. What if we believe Jesus for His words and lifestyle and choose to love those our nation seeks to kill? We may lose our lives, but the demonstration of our love would impact someone, somewhere. As paradoxical as the Kingdom of God tends to be, it is often in death that life is born. It is in the moment when all seems lost, we must have faith that love never fails (I Cor 13:8).
So with love firmly rooted within us, what if we used the same selfless bravery to save ‘enemy’ lives instead of taking them? And not just during wartime. What if we used our extra resources to help rebuild the hospitals that have been bombed as a result of war? What if we took our vocations overseas and helped bring education to children who have never seen a school, nor know what one is? What if we invited international students into our homes for holidays? What if we made a lifestyle of welcoming others (neighbors, near and far) in? What if we determined to find more commonalities than differences with those we label as enemies? What if everyone committed to loving and getting to know the foreigners on their block? Then, when wars break out or resume, we no longer see ‘enemies’ but we see our neighbors’ families and friends struggling to keep their families safe. Will we let love, and not fear, guide our actions and behavior to those near and far? May it be so.