I hope y’all know that Sam is the object of stories here and featured in my social media feed much, much more than his brothers, only because Will and Nate are old enough to make certain demands. They do not like to be blogged about (when I do use them I give them the courtesy of getting their approval), and pretty much every picture that I snap is followed by the exclamation “Do not post this!” So there we have it, a sad state of affairs in some ways, but also totally understandable. And so we are stuck with Sam — hilarious, adorable, deep Sam.
Sam has always loved reading the Bible (various levels of children’s versions), and I am pretty sure I have never said to him, “Sam, why don’t you read the Bible?” Or made any suggestion, and yet he reads it virtually every day. He’s always been spiritually sensitive. Some of you may remember how when he was three years old, he was devastated by the story of Jesus healing the blind man by putting mud on his eyes. He heard it at church, and at Bible study. He was utterly wrecked by it both times, sobbing his heart out. I started sheepishly asking “What is the story today?” at church and Bible study. I couldn’t have my guy devastated all over again. I never figured out exactly why the story bothered him so much, but I think it had to do with the mud. Maybe Sam thought it sounded like Jesus was being mean, or maybe Sam was focusing on the mud and not the healing?
And honestly his spiritual sensitivity has only grown. He regularly asks questions like, “Remember when Jesus told the blind man that the cause wasn’t his sin and wasn’t his parents’ sin? Then what was it?” Or, “How did Adam know that what Eve was giving him was the forbidden fruit? Or, “Had chariots been invented when Elijah was taken up to heaven in one?”
Then this week Sam asked, “I really don’t understand how the Bible says that we are supposed to love our enemies but hate evil. What if our enemies are evil?” I love hashing out theology with my contemplative almost nine-year-old. He puts so much effort into thinking things through. You can tell that when he asks a question — theological or otherwise — he’s turned it over in his mind a great deal. I wonder if the average American has logged as much time as Sam in reconciling these two competing concepts.
Anyway I told Sam that loving our enemies is always our calling and that hating them would never allow us to share the love of Christ with them. But we can and should hate the evil that is done in this world. We hate that children are treated badly (I hope and pray it’s a long, long time before Sam understands just how badly some children in this world are treated), but we don’t hate the people who do it. We believe that each person is made in the image of God and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we can love the worst of sinners. If we take being like Jesus seriously, we will strive to love like He loves.
Paul stated it so beautifully, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Can we love our enemies — the worst of sinners who maliciously hurt the ones we love the most? No, not in our own power. But if we turn our eyes on Jesus, beholding His glory and allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, all things are possible.
Praying today that I’ll be transformed into the image of Christ, one degree of glory to another.
Have a wonderful weekend!