This might be one of the most radical teachings of Jesus that goes against our human nature. I’ve heard Christian missionaries in Muslim territories share it was this teaching of Jesus that sparked someone’s faith journey towards giving one’s life over to God!
You may have heard this verse expressed even more clearly in these two verses we find in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” Luke 6:27
Who is my enemy? Currently I cannot think of a human enemy I have but I have certainly had seasons in my life where I had haters and people that weren’t my favorites at times. Loving an enemy might be the highest level of Christian commitment one can have? I’m not talking about the “kill them with kindness” idea as this has an ulterior motive. We kill people with kindness because it’s a passive aggressive form of being nice. That’s not what’s being taught by Jesus here.
Jesus knows he is walking closer and closer to His trials, beatings, crucifixion, death and resurrection. Jesus also knows His followers will experience great persecution and many even death because of their commitment to Him. Peter tried violence. He sliced off Malchus’ (servant of the high priest) ear with the best intentions to protect Jesus in John 18:10. Clearly to Peter the end justified the means. “But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:51. Clearly fighting our enemy physically isn’t the way of Jesus.
I’ve learned my enemy is never another human.
God loves all humans and is kind to all despite what many think about God, equating God to their earthy fathers who might be stern, judgmental or even abusive. Christian, our enemy is real, but it’s NOT a human! Our enemy lurks about seeking to steal, kill and destroy each one of us. Each day we must put on our suit of armor to we can fight the REAL battle that has the most significant eternal impact of all!
When I suit up and love what’s referred to as my human enemy, something happens inside of me. My hatred lessens. I begin to care for the one who is irritating me, mistreating me or hurting me. It’s only God’s Spirit inside our soul that can give us the ability to love and care for our haters. Revenge and hatred will eventually have both parties destroying one another. God’s recipe changes us and even transforms others.
Prayers are lifted to God from filthy prisons around the globe where believers are imprisoned for their faith, targeted and mistreated to the point of physical death. Many of them pray for the guards and prison officials who ravage them. Churches are open fired upon, burned down and many other unspeakable things have happened. When those who have been wronged love their enemy GOD WINS. Rise up mighty warrior and live what others think to be impossible! With God it’s ALL POSSIBLE! Fight the REAL enemy by loving what looks like our enemy while we’re here.