Helping others, even our enemies, even when it costs us, is what God has commanded us to do.
I gotta tell ya, this video clip captures everything that’s right about honorable sportsmanship.
In a college softball game, between Western Oregon and Central Oregon, a senior named Sara from Western hit her very first career homerun. Fortunately for her team, she had two runners on base. But as she was running the bases, she twisted her leg and broke it. Sara was unable to complete her run, thus, her homerun was not going to count.
Enter two girls playing for Central, the opposing team. They literally picked Sara up, and gently carried her to every base so she could touch it. At home plate, she earned her run. Because they were willing to help an opponent, she was able to make her homerun count. By the way, Western went on to win the game…all because of the sacrificial help from two girls playing for Central.
The dramatic footage is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jocw-oD2pgo
You’ll need to be prepared to stop this video at 5 minutes and 50 seconds when the “story” ends. The rest of the video is just commercials the YouTube uploader didn’t erase.
This true story is a powerful one. The girls from Central Oregon did an incredibly sacrificial thing for their opponent, Sara. In fact, their act of radical kindness even contributed to them losing the game! But whether they know it or not, that kind of sacrifice and kindness is exactly what Jesus calls us to as Christians. We must live our lives helping others – even our enemies – and even if it costs us. That’s not easy, but God said to do it. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about how we can.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not we are fans of baseball/softball.
- ASK A FEW: What (all) was on the line for Sara when she fell down in the baseline? (Leaders – It was her first, and only, homerun. The point was on the line. Her dreams were on the line. The game’s outcome was on the line. This was huge.)
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think the girls from Central did it? What motivated them?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think the crowd remembered most about that game: the winner and loser, or this act of radical kindness? (Leaders – Duh! The act of kindness shown an opponent.)
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think these kinds of sacrificial acts stand out so much?
- ASK A FEW: If you were playing for Central, would you have accepted the help from an opponent?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God thought of all this?
Read the following passage:
ASK SOMEONE: What are some of the things Jesus tells us to do for our enemies...AKA, our opponents?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: On a scale of 1 (no problem) to 10 (no way), how difficult would these actions be for you to do?
ASK A FEW: What’s in it for us? I mean, is there any benefit for us in showing kindness to our enemies? (Leaders – According to verse 35, yes.)
ASK A FEW: Do you think that verse 35 means everything will always go our way if we show kindness to our enemies? (Leaders – You might want to remind them that the 2 girls who helped Sara, their opponent, ended up losing the game. Also, the people that Jesus loved nailed Him to a cross. Oftentimes, our reward is NOT in the moment when we help our enemies, but God takes note. That’s because God has done this before asking us to do it.)
ASK A FEW: Verse 35 makes it sound as though God has done this. Can you name some examples of God showing mercy, kindness, or sacrifice to His enemies?
ASK A FEW: Can some of you respectfully share about a particular enemy of yours and what they might need from you?
ASK A FEW: What will it cost you to help those enemies?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What will you do this week to love your enemies?
Luke 6:27-36 (NIV)
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Some of us have probably had our emotions tapped into tonight. We saw a very compelling video about two girls who helped their opponent and then watched the other team win. We saw how it affected everybody at that game that afternoon.
But then we talked about enemies. Some of us have “enemies” who didn’t share the really cool fire truck in the first grade. But some of us have enemies who spread gossip about us, bully us, or maybe even physically hurt us. That calls out some deep emotions, as well.
But for every range of enemy on the spectrum, Jesus has a command: love them. Show them kindness. Help them in ways that they need it most. I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but that’s what the Son of God said.
It’s also what He did. Jesus gave His life on a cross for the Billy Grahams and the bin Ladans. He even begged God to forgive those who actually drove the nails through His hands!
I want you to imagine for a moment what it would be like for you to do all the things Jesus asks us to do in this passage. What would your enemy think of you? How would their life change? What would it cost you? But I also want you to think about what it will cost you to keep on hating and despising them.
Will you love your enemies…as Jesus commands us to, or not?
Look, all of us, every single one of our adult leaders, know this is really hard to do. We don’t expect you to do it on your own, though. Doing difficult things is always easier with someone helping you along. So if you need some help – or a lot of help – we’re willing to give it. We’ll do anything we can to help you live your life by Jesus’ command.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith