Sermons

Summary: This means the Christian must love the non-Christian, and even the anti-Christian. He does not need to like them, but he does need to love them.

Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States and one of the most

popular presidents ever. After two terms he left office with greater popularity than when

he entered. He is one of the most interesting presidents to study, for the record would

indicate that he had no business being president. He was left an orphan at age 14 because

of the horrors of the Revolutionary War. He had a rough life from the start, and never

did learn to speak or write correct English. He was unrefined and uneducated, and he

had a violent temper. All of the presidents up to Jackson had been from the social

aristocracy, and were wealthy and highly educated.

One thing Jackson was really good at, however, was hating. He hated the British for

killing his family. He hated the Indians for he had seen them massacre many families.

He hated his political and personal enemies. He was divorced, and his enemies tried to

use his former wife in attacking him. He fought several duels over her. Jackson was a

fighter all his life, and that is how he became a popular hero. He led his riflemen to

victory in the battle of New Orleans with only 8 of his men killed while the enemy lost 700

dead and 1400 wounded. This man of battle, driven by hatred, became a Christian in

later years, and after confessing Christ as Savior he was baptized and joined the church. He

spent a great deal of time in study of the Bible. He died with a deep commitment to

Christ and the Word of God. But he confessed that his toughest battle as a Christian was

the forgiving of his enemies.

This is easy to understand when you think of a man who has been conditioned from

childhood to hate. He thrived on hate, and hate is what motivated him and made him the

hero of the masses. He was an expert hater, and only had a short part of his life to learn

to love, and so he was only an amateur at love. Jesus wants us to be real professionals at

love, but unfortunately even those of us who have not been conditioned by a life time of

hate find it hard to rise above the amateur level. Sometimes we are able to do it, and

other times we are so overwhelmed by anger, bitterness, and resentment, that the best we

can do is feel guilty because we fall so far short of the ideal.

God specializes in the impossible, but we have a tough enough time trying to be

effective on the level of the possible. It is possible to love our neighbor as our self, but

even this can call for enormous effort. We even struggle at times to love our loved ones,

and God Himself is not always a snap to love, for we do not understand His ways, and we

suspect we could do something better if we were God, and so we even sometimes resent

Him. No love comes easy all the time. But this love of ones enemies really goes against

the grain of our nature. It does not seem to fit reality. It is like trying to taste sound or

hear color. It doesn't make sense. What good is an enemy if you cannot enjoy hating

him? There are some people you just love to hate, and, therefore, you would hate to love

them.

Elizabeth Skoglund in her book To Anger, With Love, tells of how a Christian can

battle with this business of trying to love an enemy. She worked under a supervisor who

treated her and others unfairly. She was filled with resentment because of the unjust

treatment. She was furious within, and she wanted to quit, but she would only damage

her own career. Her only release was in prayer, and she revealed how honest prayer can

save your sanity. She shares one of her prayers: "Dear God, you know how I hate this

woman. You know I'd only be playing games with you if I ever said I want to like her. I

don't. I thoroughly enjoy hating her, but I can't be close to you and hold on to hate. So

because of that, I give you the right to love her through me. I ask you for a love I don't

have and can't produce."

She began to eat lunch with her supervisor, and she asked about her family. She

realized the only way to love is to know. People you despise become more real as people

when you know them. It took time, but she got to know her well enough to genuinely like

her. She never completely trusted her, for she was unpredictable and changeable, but

she came to the point where she had a relationship where her anger was not in control of

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