Recently a friend, in her blog, described a reaction to someone being honest and open about who they used to be. Who they were fell into a category of people that she had “hated”, or thought that she would until now. She was perplexed at the paradox of caring for someone who she knew she should hate given what they had done.
For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is Eternal Life
in Christ Jesus our Lord – Rom 6:23
She came to acceptance by recognizing that God sees all sin as equal, big or little. That God’s grace is unending, all covering, and all forgiving. I commend her for taking the time to struggle with it, because sadly in today’s world so many would rather choose to either; be lazy and hate, or reject the person and continue to hate.
You have heard that it was said,
‘Love your neighbor. Hate your enemy.’
But here is what I tell you.
Love your enemies.
Pray for those who hurt you.
What came to mind was the idea of hate; I have often struggled with it myself. God calls us to love our enemy, when we hate we lose perspective, we forget to love and show compassion.
I know that when I was younger I always pictured my “enemies” as the worst, most vile, evil people imaginable. My “enemy”, my “arch rival”, the “terrorist”. People that are (hopefully) far and away plotting our ruin and demise. I want to make them to be so much worse than they are so that I can hate them and see them as less than a person.
But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness.
They walk around in the darkness.
They don’t know where they are going.
The darkness has made them blind. – 1 John 2:11
To flip the table, how does your enemy see you? Do they EVEN know that they are your enemy? Do they REALLY seek your demise? Your downfall? Your next failure? For the most part (hopefully) the answer is no. Hate is blind, it is not of the Lord and it brings so much more pain where love and healing could be.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
And he said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 1
This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ 2.
Have you ever met a “criminal”? Someone who made a mistake, and got caught? Had things been slightly different could you be a “criminal” now? As is very often the case for people who commit crimes, be they small and petty or large and “unforgivable”, the person who committed them is still a person. A person that may wake up hating who they are, what they have done, who they have become, and who often feels trapped because they are in a life without God. Would their life be better with more love, patience, understanding, acceptance? Whose would NOT?!? These people are broken, in the most need of God’s Grace, His Love, His Understanding, and His Acceptance. So often they continue to spread their brokenness until an outside force causes them to stop.
A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Prov 19:11
THIS is what God calls us to do, Love. Love by showing patience, by showing understanding, and by giving acceptance. How do you Love your enemy? The simplest and easiest answer, PRAY. Pray for them, pray with them, pray for God to use you to show this. Pray for an end to blind hatred. Pray for an end to senseless murder. Pray for those caught in human trafficking, both local and abroad. Pray for the victims, but you also NEED to pray for the perpetrators because they are spreading brokenness. Pray for healing. Pray for truth, understanding and compassion, the ENEMIES of HATE!