Can We Love Our Enemies?
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:43-44)
How do I hate thee; let me count the ways.
From trash talking sports figures, to ex husbands and wives, to abortion or religious fundamentalists, to “those people,” how many enemies do we count on our own, personal list?
Seahawks’ Richard Sherman was vilified because, in the minutes after his amazing play and his team’s win of the Superbowl, he spoke boosted by the adrenaline rush of the win and the crowd. Not many people gave him grace for that, including a pastor I know, who publicly entered the fray by posting a nasty comment on Facebook. It was really a shame, because he could have used the moment to teach love and grace. He could have reminded us of Jesus’ words; he could have reminded us to extend mercy and pray. Sadly, it was a teachable moment lost.
Many Americans – Christians included – blindly support Israel and hate Palestinians. If any other country treated its citizens the way Israel treats Palestinians, we as Americans wouldn’t stand for it. Think I’m wrong? Read Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour.
Dahoud Nasser is a Christian living in isolation in Israeli occupied Palestine since the Israeli military has built a wall around his city and cut off water and electricity there. But at the entrance to his property line is a boulder with the inscription, “We Refuse To Be Enemies.” Dahoud’s Christian family has lived in Palestine since the first century, and lived in peace with his neighbors until the wall was erected.
In 2000, Nasser started Tent of Nations. His mission is “building bridges between people, and between people to the land.” At Nasser’s 100-acre farm located in the hills southwest of Bethlehem, Palestine, He holds conferences to bring people of various cultures together to “build bridges of trust and hope; understanding, reconciliation, and peace.” Dahoud is committed to Matthew 5:43-44.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Proverbs 25:21)
Now this is extremely sensitive and possibly triggering territory.
How about the purveyors of sex trafficking and the pedophiles who use its victims? The worst, right? Do any of us pray for these people? Do any of us pray that their eyes would be opened? That they would come to their senses and understand what they do is evil? Do any of us pray that they stop what they are doing walk away? Do any of us pray that they would turn their lives around, and help to rescue even one child from another perpetrator? Do any of us pray that they would take another abuser by the hand and lead him away from the terrible crime he is about to commit?
Think about it; when we wish evil for evil and retribution, who does that help? Who does that restore? How does it change the system? Does it save one more child from evil?
What are your thoughts on loving your enemy?
To help the victims of sex trafficking, visit the following sites: