As stories in the headlines tell us of awful genocide, political unrest, and corruption many people, like me, have spent a lot of time thinking about the world and the instability. If you are a Christian, you may turn to scripture for solace. In the Bible we have assurance that everything is going to be okay, and that Christ will be victorious.
When it comes to military conflict or political debate, we can find guidance in the words of Jesus as well. When we read snippets like, “love your neighbor as yourself” or the much more difficult “love your enemies” we often feel like we get just enough guidance to push us forward.
There are a lot of people who do not know God that really admire these principles…In fact I will even say that these principles can even be carried out without God. Surely not to the fullest… but well enough. Through Jesus, however, we receive more than just a word of direction.
Here is the problem with the “love your enemies” mandate though….It sounds great, and we know it would cure a lot of unrest, but this phrase in scripture requires a lot more from us than just smiling at people you dislike. The haunting words of Jesus that require us to “love our enemies” force us to name who those enemies may be in our life.
Who are our personal enemies? Are our enemies people who have hurt our feelings? Are they people who don’t like us? Are they people who told a lie about us as work?
Why do we consider any one an enemy? I I think that should be the question. Sure there are military opponents who seek to destroy. Sure, there are people who would desire harm on you and your family. Sure, there are groups who desire evil outcomes for other people….but really when we think about it logically; the enemy of our souls is the only true enemy.
Jesus told us to love those who we consider the enemy, I think, because we are not supposed to look at them as adversaries. We are called to look at them as fellow humans who are equally in need of the grace and peace found in Jesus Christ. If we understand this better…we can understand our mission as Christians more fully.
No one is too far gone that God cannot transform them…