16 May 2015
Love Your Enemies – Opening Thoughts
Greetings Dear Reader,
One of the things triggered by recent events has been some deep thinking on what it means to love one’s enemies. Discussions about the current political climate lead me to think that many who claim to follow Christ have left behind this very seminal command.
I work very hard at not collecting enemies in the real world. I still have a few but I will get to that later. Our nation has enemies. So too the Church has enemies. Some people will hate me just because I try to follow Christ. Many will declare themselves my enemy. Does their declaration make it so?
As I think through this question I wish to begin with the actual command. These are the words Jesus spoke about the topic:
Mat 5:43 – 48
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.
If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
There are some serious implications here. I want to consider them as I refine what it means for me to love my enemies. I must love them. That is what Christ commands. I cannot just say that I do love them. Faith without works is dead. I must live out loving my enemies
Jesus only uses the word “enemy” four other times throughout the Gospels. Three of those times are in the parable of the wheat and tares. The other time it is in a warning. The only time Jesus focuses on what we are to do about our enemies is here. He sets his thoughts with those concerning how to react to violence: “Turn the other cheek.” He couples it with the way we are to respond to forced labor: “Go a second mile.”
To follow Christ is to do things counter to the visceral reaction that is natural in us. I need to ponder this carefully so that I can perfect my obedience to Christ. I must follow this command with my whole heart. In order to do so I must examine it wholly. Dear Reader I covet your thoughts on this as I think some of it will be hard. Also, I enjoy your company along the path.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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