Love your enemies…..
Interesting that this is something of which Jesus spoke. Yet, as Christians we are often considered hateful and intolerant.
How can this be if we are actually following our marching orders and doing what Jesus said? “Love your enemies”, “love your neighbours”, “bless those that persecute you.” Is the church actually doing this or are they interpreting this in another manner?
I want to be clear here: Being physically and relationally “set apart” is not loving your neighbour or your enemy. How would we share the Gospel if we kept to ourselves? It doesn’t make sense, does it? So what then shall we do because the world hates us and doesn’t want the message we are called to deliver? You cannot be passive when it comes to even loving your enemies. I refer to an old DC Talk song, “Luv is a Verb”. If we are to be physically set apart how then can we be an example to the world?
I firmly believe that Christ wants us to be intentional in our lives, so this would be no exception.
Disclaimer: Before you start making excuses, just relax and remember that I’ve already made them all and they DON’T MATTER. They are excuses, nothing more.
Are you ready to forgive someone when they swear at you and spit in your face just because you believe in Jesus and talk about Him and His message? I am always amazed at those Christians that can do just that: forgive even in the face of hostility. For the record, they spit on Jesus as He dragged His cross through the streets of Jerusalem. He still laid down His life and took on the wrath of His Father for them. Are we so much better than Christ that we can turn up our noses and walk away?
Jesus saw the big picture and understood that we needed to be saved. Saved not just from sin and death, but from ourselves. In every aspect of life our biggest problem is ourselves. Our love of this world, our denial of our sin nature, our love of money, hockey, booze, drugs, sex, etc. We have no problem with love. It’s the object of our affection that screws us up.
In what should our love of our enemies be rooted? A wise man once said:
““Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.” Luke 23:34 NKJV.
Christ forgave them. I got into an argument with a friend and was told that it was easy for Christ to say that because He is God. My response was simply to point to Stephen:
“Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60 NKJV
Stephen was no different than you or I, except his faith was great and he was humble. He was able to see eternity through the cloud of hatred in this world. It is clear as day especially when we read of Stephen’s account as he addressed the religious leaders:
“And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15 NKJV
They saw God’s holiness and purity shining through Stephen and they still stoned him to death. These were supposed followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How much more will the world resist you when you speak to them of a God they do not even know or remotely understand?
So I ask again: Are we greater than Christ? Are we loved any less than Stephen? If the answer is NO, then we know what we must do.
If we don’t know then ask for some direction, I got a Guy. He asks for nothing in return. He calls us to love our neighbour. Loving them requires us to share the gospel and befriend them. He gives us His love.
If they despise you: Pray for them, I got a Guy for that as well.
This world is here but for a moment in time. Therefore, focus on the eternal. Focus on Jesus Christ and sharing His truth and love with all!