The Pharisees taught that you should love those who are near and dear to you, but enemies should be hated. The eye for an eye legislation was part of their civil law and we all know that Civil government is ordained of God (Romans 13:1-7), to save human society from its criminal elements. But Jesus comes with a different instruction: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Many of us have been hurt several times by our spouses, family members, friends, members of the community and our enemies. And one may ask a question: “Why should I love my enemy, the person who abused me, the person who raped me, and the person who killed my parent, child, spouse, and the person who infected me with HIV?”
Take note: Jesus is not speaking against the administration of proper justice toward those who are evil. He teaches principles to be used between individuals and He deepens the requirements of compassion to the requirements of deeper love.
Yes, loving our enemies can be and is very difficult, but it is the most productive and peaceful course in the long run.
Loving our enemies does not mean an emotional love, but rather a genuine concern for their good and their eternal salvation.
Loving our enemies does not mean standing by idly while evil doers continue their wicked deeds. When it is necessary for God’s honour, the good or safety of others or the ultimate good of the wicked, severe action must be taken to stop evil.
Loving our enemies does not mean we have to like them, but it does mean we must forgive them and desire what is best for them.
One of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive someone who has wronged you. But it is only through experiencing forgiveness that one can clearly see God’s great gift of salvation. When we forgive others for the wrongs they have committed against us, we do not excuse what they have done. We simply recognize that we have been hurt unjustly and turn the matter to God. Your mercy may be just what someone needs to be ushered into God’s kingdom; i.e. our actions toward those who wronged us should be such that it might lead them to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
To Think about: So, what should you do when someone offends you? Do you fight back or love back?
Written by: Puleng Rampai, CABSA Representative in the Free State