43 “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you
– Matthew 5:43-44 CEB
Last week at Bible study one of the men, with a pained look on his face asked:
“God created everyone and loves everyone, and that includes the terrorists who killed those kids in England, right? How do you accept that?”
I responded with a comment about how those who are dying as terrorists are usually just horribly misguided children, and those in charge are the ones pulling the strings, and that we should mourn their death, as well, because they are loved children of God.
A good response, I supposed, but what I wanted to say was, “Yeah, it’s be really freaking nice if God would come down and explain to us how He loves someone who would murder a bunch of innocent children for simply going to a concert, innocent children who did nothing wrong.”
How do you love your enemies? How do you look at someone who means harm to the most innocent of us, and say, “I love you. God loves you.”?
And even if you can look at the misguided footsoldiers of an evil master with love, compassion, and sympathy, how do you look at those who are brainwashing them and using them as disposable tools of violence, and desiring the destruction of the innocent, all for selfish and hateful gain?
Or let’s go out a step further. How do you look at a politician who makes decisions that you know – or at least strongly suspect – will have a detrimental effect on the lives of the weak and innocent, all to the gain of the powerful, and say, “I love you. God loves you.”?
And how do you not just fall to your knees, screaming at God, “Why do you love them? Why do you allow them to be in power? Why?”
I don’t know. I don’t know, and I can’t pretend to have an answer. I gave an answer when the question was presented to me, but I don’t know.
But that’s what we are called to do.
God loves us all, even those we condemn as evil and irredeemable.
I’ve been asked recently what I believe the future of the PC(USA) is and the answer I keep coming to is this: if we can learn to work with each other and see each other not as enemies but brothers and sisters in Christ, and if our focus can be on showing Christ’s love with the world and not on yelling at each others, we might stand a chance; if not, we will die out.
I realize, writing this, that even if we do see each other as enemies – the though of which makes my soul mourn – we still are to love each other. I know that I have pastors, ministers, and faithful people of the entire spectrum who may see the link to this, and I ask you all if you are showing love to those you disagree with, even if you see them as your enemy, or are you simply showing them hate and judgement? Because tearing ourselves apart will not do anything for the body of Christ or for us individually.
Love your enemies, and also learn who an enemy is. But most importantly, love your enemies.