Sunday, August 26, 2012

Is it true Christians are supposed to love even their enemies?

Indeed, loving an enemy is difficult to rationalize. How does one explain a person who, in spite of being hated, abused, persecuted, or even tortured by another human being, says to him, “I love you, no matter what you do to me.”

One might ask, “Who is my enemy?” Matthew 5:44 defines an enemy as someone who curses, hates, abuses, and persecutes us. Do you have any enemies? Does someone hate you? Does someone abuse you verbally or physically? Then you have enemies.

Jesus said: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy” (Matthew 5:43). Have you ever heard that? It is not something we need to be taught. Our human nature naturally thinks and feels this way. But Christ requires all Christians everywhere: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

The person who has not been born again, and received God’s Spirit cannot understand or accept this. But the believer, the true follower of Christ, understands that if God did not love us, His enemies, we could not be saved. We would be hopeless!

Yes, it is true. Christians are to love even their enemies, just as Christ loved His enemies.

So, if I am being abused and mistreated repeatedly, does God ask me to just take it, and do nothing about it because I must love my enemies?

There are many examples in the Bible of Christians or other people of God fleeing from persecution or harm. At times, God's people were even protected by the civil authorities, and God has given them the mandate of protecting us from evil people.

The Bible does not command us to stay in abusive relationships, but it teaches us not to avenge ourselves. We are not to take revenge on people who have caused us harm, but we should love them, and do good to them when we can. We are not to hate them, or wish them evil.

So, dear friend, continue to love your enemies, but by all means seek to escape abuse or mistreatment if you can!

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