We impoverish ourselves by not lingering more. Whipping from one thing to the next does not make for a rich, memorable life. Understanding and wonder and worship don’t typically result from doing or reading as many things as possible. It comes from focus and contemplation and rumination. For most of us the wise choice is to go deep, not broad.
When you stop to examine, to search through, to figure out, to study, you begin to see things. You begin to realize how substantial and profound seemingly simple things really are. Understanding emerges and you begin to make connections with other things. An appreciation of beauty you never noticed before grows. The scope of how little you really know dawns and you’re humbled by your smallness. And the scope of God’s knowledge and power fills you with awe.
I’ve just read John Piper’s book, Love Your Enemies. It’s his doctoral dissertation. Now, if you’ve never read one of John’s books it’s likely not the best introduction for you. And if you can only read one or two of his books this year, there are others I would recommend. But if you’d like to take a deep, detailed dive into one of Jesus’s most profound commandments, there are some amazing things to see!
There’s a world of ancient moral philosophies and systems that discuss enemy love into which Jesus spoke. Would you like to know what made Jesus unique? There are worlds of textual criticism and theological wrestling, study upon study, on these simple sayings. Would you like to see how Jesus challenges and confounds so many brilliant people? Would you like to see how a scholar who really believes in the deity of Jesus and inerrancy of Scripture skillfully swims in and against the academic current? Then come and take a look at this! It’s really something.
It’s not easy reading. But really thinking — really contemplating things — isn’t easy, especially in the attention-deficient culture of America. But if you’re willing to spend some time, you will see glorious things.
Related posts to the republication of Love Your Enemies: