Love Your Enemies

I was raised in a church that taught love your enemies. In Sunday school we learned that we were to “go the extra mile” and “turn the other cheek.” I did that once when I was in fifth grade, and got clobbered in the choppers.

What a shock. The Bible doesn’t work? I mean, the way I’d envisioned it, the coals I was heaping on my enemy’s head would melt him into submissiveness and I would be the WINNER!

Well, you can see, I had a major problem with my attitude, but the idea that Christians are to love our enemies stuck. It’s a clear command, and lived out by one believer after the other across the pages of Scripture.

But somehow, it seems contemporary Christians have downplayed this point. I was reminded of it in a radio sermon this morning as Alistair Begg delved into a passage in the book of Titus. Here are the verses that apply:

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
– Tts 3:1-2

Among other things, Pastor Begg emphasized the “all men” in verse two. Not just the people we like or agree with or think are cool or popular or famous. We are to show every consideration for all men—atheists who hate Christians, radical feminists, noisy neighbors, lying politicians, gay pride marchers, gang bangers, illegal immigrants, sex offenders, greedy billionaire CEOs, British Petroleum officials, our President—no exception.

Notice, this Titus passage doesn’t give us the escape of telling us to love all mankind. Too easily we can say we’re delivering “tough love” to those who need correction.

Instead, this passage says we are to show every consideration, which I believe means we aren’t to shout rude comments at anyone or write rude letters or post snarky blog articles. We aren’t allowed to withhold common courtesy or snub our nose or pull in our skirts when “those people” walk by.

Do these acts of consideration “work”? No. Not any more than my turning the other cheek “worked.” The point isn’t to do acts of consideration in order to manipulate a response from the other person. We are instead to do acts of consideration because God tells us to.

When we do, then He can use them as He sees fit.

Can I still voice my opinion about a politician I oppose or a lifestyle that is sinful or a person who commits a crime? Sure. And so I ought—even as I show consideration to the people who will inevitably disagree.

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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