You Want Me to Love Who?
Luke 6:27,28 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Every time I read a passage like this, I think, I don’t have any enemies, do I? I am 90% sure that everyone likes me. I was tempted just to move on to the next passage but I was convinced I was missing something, so, I asked a friend. Who are my enemies? If I do not know my defects or who dislikes me, it is often helpful to ask a good friend. It is painful, but helpful.
The topic turned to those who believe differently than me: Those who do not believe in God, those who believe in a different god, or those who believe in God differently. Faith is a divisive topic, manufacturing divisions and creating enemies.
We cannot control others, but as Christians, we often create enemies needlessly. There certainly will be those who hate us because we follow Christ. However, I think many of our enemies are enemies because we have treated them as such. We have disobeyed Christ’s command to love those who believe differently than us.
We see ourselves as bearers of a divine truth and thus, those who believe differently are not just opposing us, they are opposing God. In the name of our faith, we come to know those who do not embrace our God and world view as adversaries. Then, politics gets involved and suddenly, half the population lives behind enemy lines.
Confidence in the truth often leads us to destructive arrogance. In our arrogance, we tell ourselves that the most loving thing we can do is to tell someone the truth. I do not need to be kind. I just need to tell you that you are wrong and that you are going to hell. We make love and truth synonymous, but they are not the same.
Jesus, in the passage, explains how we are to love. He says that we are to bless those who consider us enemies. We are not to hate them, rather, we are to be kind, praying for and giving to them.
Jesus, nowhere says that we are to beat them with the truth. They know the truth for which we stand. That is why they consider us enemies. We are to love them despite their disdain for us. For our part, we are not to consider them as enemies. If there be enmity between us, it is to be their choice, not ours.
This does not mean we abandon the truth. It just means that we do not use the truth as an excuse to hate. Once we begin to hate in the name of the truth, we have become as wrong as if we abandoned the truth altogether.
I have, unfortunately, said some of the harshest things in my life, not because I disliked someone but because I disagreed with his or her beliefs. Thus, I have used my faith as an excuse for hate. Jesus says this is not to be the case. If I claim to follow him, I am to show his love, even in the face of hate.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.