But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Luke 6:35 ESV
I have long forgotten my professor’s name but still remember his comment that, “The Christian life isn’t hard – it is a miracle!” No verse more epitomizes this tension between our natural way of thinking and God’s than the concept of loving our enemies. Jesus wasn’t just a nice teacher teaching us nice things about how we should be sweet and polite. Not at all! The teachings of Jesus contain the most revolutionary thinking of all time! Who in the world thinks that loving enemies is a good idea? Does God really expect us to put this into practice?
Very rarely (like never!) do we hear about loving our enemies in most Christian circles. Instead we seem to think Jesus said, “Complain about your enemies to other Christians.” or “Lobby your local representative to pass laws making their behavior illegal.” Other times we take the approach of simply ignoring the whole “Love your enemy.” idea. But the pesky thing about God’s commands it that He repeats them so often that pretending that He didn’t say them requires us to ignore vast swathes of scripture.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, Proverbs 25:21
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
Now, it is not surprising that we are to love fellow Christians and maybe just a bit more difficult to love our neighbors, but loving people who don’t like us, or worse yet are shooting at us. That is not an easy concept to practice! I have had my own wrestling with putting this into practice, so I do not suggest that I have it all figured out. Are we supposed to win over evil people by just being good? After all, our goodness is just a pile of dirty rags. But God His sent His Son, “While we were still enemies.” to show us His heart and the way. God was so angry with our sin and the evil of what we have done, that instead of destroying us, He sent Jesus to die. That is the miracle. That is the Christian life. That is the only way to love our enemies and to win their hearts and minds for Him!
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” G. K. Chesterton