Loving Our Enemies

One of our “Prayer Goals” this Ministry Year is to grow in our Love for our Enemies.  I thought this was important for a couple of reasons:  it is something that Jesus teaches but is easily ignored and it is something we may need to apply especially during the political season of a presidential election.

This came into view last night in one particular way as I was watching the debate and following reaction on Twitter & Facebook.  A friend of mine reacted very strongly to something one of the candidates said and posted his thoughts on Facebook. Then came the chorus of amens.

I heard the candidate in a slightly different way and threw my assessment into the ring, to which he graciously responded and provided some more context for his reaction – which was helpful in understanding it.  That said, and I told him this in a slightly different way, is that our reactions must be governed by the command that we have to love.  Even enemies.  I think this can particularly come into view when we enter into political debates.

This is what I’m thinking and it is in process, but I think that love requires that we graciously characterize the comments and words of others, if possible.  I don’t mean we ignore words.  Nor do we just simply grin and bear hurtful statements.  But we don’t twist them or use them to score points.  We don’t take someone’s logical meaning and misrepresent it.  And even when someone misspeaks, as we all do, we aren’t standing nearby ready to pounce.

This is obviously very different than we will ever see during Presidential debates.  But it’s probably not likely any of us is running for President any time soon.    And even if someone uses their words to intentionally hurt us, we are still commanded to love our enemies.  One thing that was helpful in thinking about love for enemies was someting I just read on Monday in the book we are using in Sunday School (Love Walked Among Us, Paul Miller):  an enemy doesn’t have to be a permanent category for people in our lives.  Think about that and the command to love, especially if your are politically inclined and find yourself disagreeing with friends, co-workers, or even the candidates themselves.  May the Lord grow us in the kind of enemy loving that He has shown to us (Romans 5:8).



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