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Desmond Tutu's Connection to "Love your Enemies"

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James Inniss

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of Desmond Tutu's Connection to "Love your Enemies"

Desmond Tutu's
Connection to
"Love Your Enemies"
(Matthew 5: 43-48)

Jesus taught, “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you” . He forgave people who sinned against others and also forgave people who sinned against him.

He left us with a most powerful, 'in your face' example to follow. In the agony of a most cruel death as Jesus hung on the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him.
Thousands of people gathered to listen to his teachings.
How does Desmond Tutu demonstrate Jesus' teachings?
How has Desmond Tutu left an impact on the world?
Through his hand in political affairs in South Africa, and his role as an Archbishop, he has had a voice to speak to the masses around the world during very unsettling times. He has an extraordinary ability to communicate fearlessly, straightforwardly and persuasively. You don't have to be a Christian to embrace the common sense in his message. He is revered as a symbol of morality and has used his fame as a vehicle to bring his wisdom and the word of God to the world on issues such as AIDS, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and climate change, etc.
Love Your Enemies
What I admire about Desmond Tutu?
The part I love the most about Desmond Tutu and his speeches is the purity of his message. Whether he uses complex terminology or simple every day words, I can easily understand and get behind what he has said. He has a good firm grasp on God's message and I appreciate his passion for God's word, love for
God's people and conviction that goodness will prevail. After all the horrible things he has witnessed and personal sacrifices he has had to make - you couldn't blame him for having hatred in his heart. But when you see him on video and even through his words on the page - there is no hatred there.

I am thankful that he wasn't killed given the radical nature of his comments and that he has had a chance to share his views and teach the world a thing or two about the ills of oppression and the significance of
before retiring from the public eye.

My Interpretation:
In this section of the Sermon, Jesus is challenging the people to go against what they are familiar with. They all knew about the command to love their neighbour from the Old Testament law. It is easy to love someone you like. We give generously to those we like.
This has been a winter of snow and ice. We wouldn't think much about shovelling our neighbours sidewalk. The truth is that human beings aren't always likeable. No one is perfect, humans constantly make mistakes. However, it is so much harder for us to deal with people's imperfections. Would you so easily chip away at the ice on the sidewalk of a neighbour you don't like - especially if you knew that neighbour would never extend that courtesy to you? Jesus asks us to do this and more.
I have soaked in Desmond Tutu's teachings and they make me realize that there are ways I can apply his and Jesus' views of forgiveness in my life. Personally I can hold a grudge or delete a person out of my life with ease after they have wronged me. Desmond's forgiveness strategy could help me rebuild those bridges and relationships I have burned.
-By James Inniss
From a Contemporary Perspective
In the bible Jesus spoke on a mountainside to a groups of Jews. Toward the end of the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus speaks about the Old Testament Law and how He has come to be the fulfillment of that law.
In the Bible it says, Matthew 39
"-do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also"

Jesus goes further in his radical statements, Matthew 43

“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..."

Love For Enemies
At the fall of Apartheid when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years behind bars...

The whole world was watching
Radical Commandment
“The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history—totaling somewhere between $4 trillion and $6 trillion."
How Much Does Retaliation Cost?
Global Research, September 20, 2013
Modern Day Demonstrator of Christ-like Love to those who are an “Enemy”
Desmond Tutu
Vital Statistics:
Born on October 7, 1931 (age 82), in
Western Transvaal, South Africa.
1st black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa
Rose to worldwide fame in the 1980's as a social activist against Apartheid in South Africa
International Human Rights Activist
Strong advocate of non-violent resistance - which helped to keep him alive
Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Established the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995
Tutu utilizes the African Worldview of Ubuntu to explain the wisdom of Jesus' teaching.

, he explains, "speaks of the very essence of being human." For Tutu, you can't be human all by yourself. He said that in order for him to fully be himself, he needs me to be fully myself, and everyone to be fully themselves. For Tutu, that leaves no room for hatred and only room for peace and forgiveness. "-those of us who have been wronged must say ("we forgive you"), and only then can we move toward the reconstruction of our land. The confession isn't cheaply made and the response isn't cheaply made".
African Worldview
Instead of bloodshed and destruction that the White Afrikaners feared...Desmond Tutu called for Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Healing - shocking both whites and blacks
During a trip to Israel, while visiting a Holocaust memorial, Tutu urged Jews to pray for and forgive all those responsible for the Nazi genocide. Tutu probably upset and confused a lot of people when he said, "Our Lord would say that in the end the positive thing that can come is the spirit of forgiving, not forgetting, but the spirit of saying: God, this happened to us. We pray for those who made it happen, help us to forgive them and help us so that we in our turn will not make others suffer."

The western world views this amount of forgiveness to be radical - especially given that the Nazi's were responsible for the killing of 6 million Jewish people. Sometimes when we feel wronged we have a hard time acknowledging our own sins. Similar to Jesus, Tutu didn't shy away from telling the truth regardless of who it might offend. The Israelis couldn't have been happy when Tutu compared their treatment of the Palestinians to South Africa's treatment of blacks. As Jesus called us to a higher standard - in these modern times, Desmond Tutu has done the same.
When Jesus says to the Jews, "You have heard that it was said," he is basically telling them that they have been misinterpreting God's law. When Jesus uses the term enemy - he is speaking about someone whose intention is to do serious harm. The concept of
loving your enemy
is as shocking in our world today as it must have been to the Jews back then. How can you love and have compassion for the terrorists who blew up the world trade centre on 9/11 killing thousands of innocent people? How do you pray for the pedophile who robs children of their innocence in the most heinous of ways? It seems almost beyond comprehension.

We think what the Jews must of thought; that to extend such compassion would create chaos - that evil would gain the upper hand. We view that type of compassion as a sign of weakness. Our natural instinct is to exact an eye for an eye type of justice. However, here Jesus was calling on the Jews - he calls on us to leave judgement and retaliation to God.
Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party governments, the ruling party from 1948 to 1994, under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants were curtailed and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. For white South Africans the 1960s was a decade of boom and unprecedented prosperity. For black South Africa, the 1960s saw apartheid harden into its most dogmatic and racist form. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people.

Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance. The government responded to a series of popular uprisings and protests with police brutality, which in turn increased local support for the armed resistance struggle. One of the famous protests took place in 1959, where 69 people were killed by police in what is known as the
Sharpeville Massacre
. More than 18,000 people were arrested, including leaders of the ANC and PAC, and both organizations were banned. Nelson Mandela (leader of the ANC) was one of those who were arrested and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Apartheid Brief History Lesson Continued...

In 1976 high school students in Soweto took to the streets in the ‘Soweto Uprising’ to protest against forced use of instruction from Grade 7+ in Afrikaans rather than English. English was gaining prominence as the language most often used in commerce and industry and the children wanted access to a better education. In addition, education was free for white children but black parents were required to pay for their children to attend school.

On June 16, 1976, police opened fire on 15,000 students who had gathered in a peaceful protest. It is estimated that 700 young people were killed and thousands injured. The dead were between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. On the first Sunday after June 16th, Tutu told his mostly white congregation at St. Mary’s, “We have been really shattered by the deafening silence from the white community. You will say, what could we do? And all I would say to you is, what would you have done had they been white children? And that is all we would have wanted you to have done.”

In the aftermath of the massacre, Tutu used his voice to loudly criticize the government, to tell the world about the catastrophe brewing in his country and to encourage reconciliation.
Wikipedia and Desmond Tutu: A Biography By Steven Gish
What is Apartheid?
Book: God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations
By Desmond Tutu
Tutu, Desmond (2011).
God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations.

Source: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/
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