This week the spectre of ethnic cleansing has raised its ugly head again. There is concern as Armenians flee Azerbaijan in fear of their lives.
Sadly, murderous hostility between races and people groups is not a new thing. History is marred by too many examples — from the horrors of the Holocaust to the terror of the Rwandan genocide; from the butchery of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995 to the slaughter of some 20,000 innocent men, women, and children of the Ndebele tribe in quiet villages in Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
It could be argued that the Bible records ethnic cleansing in the way that the Israelites expelled or annihilated other nations as they sought to settle in the promised land.
But what does Jesus think? In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus gave us a remarkable command, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”. It’s human nature to prefer those close to us and like us while being resentful of and prejudiced against others, but let’s resist that impulse.
Let Jesus help us to love everyone no matter how different they are from us because even those, whom we may think of as enemies, are people for whom Christ died.
Love your enemies and pray for them.
About the Writer:
James Henderson is a Minister in Grace Communion International.