I just watched (on YouTube) Eric Metaxas speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2012.
Here are two takeaways:
When talking about how he came to faith in Jesus, Metaxas said,
Everything I had rejected about God was actually not God. It was just dead religion. It was phoniness. It was people who go to church and do not show the love of Jesus. It was people who know the Bible and use it as a weapon. It was people who don’t practice what they preach. It was people who are indifferent to the poor and suffering, people who use religion as a way to exclude others from their group, people who use religion as a way to judge others. I had rejected that. But guess what? Jesus had also rejected that. He had railed against that, and called people to real life and real faith. Jesus was and is the enemy of dead religion.
And, speaking to the gathering of our nation’s leaders, known more for bickering and name-calling than for demonstrating God’s love, he boldly proclaimed…
If you can see Jesus in your enemy, then you can know that you are seeing with God’s eyes and not your own. So can you love your enemy? If you cannot pray for those on the other side, if you cannot actually feel the love of God for your enemies, political and otherwise, my friends that’s a sure sign that you are being merely religious, that you have bought into a moral system, but you do not know the God who has forgiven you. Only God can give us that supernatural, agape love for those with whom we disagree.
Amen. May it be so with me. May it be so with all of us.
(Eric Metaxas is the author of two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Check out his website.)