Love Your Enemy… Just Kidding!
There are a lot of verses in the Bible that leave much to interpretation. Is it meant to be literal, or a metaphor, or a story, or poetry, or prophecy, or a handful of other writing styles? And then there are the other verses that are shockingly simple. Yet those don’t tend to be any easier for us to understand or apply. Consider the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.
“You have heard that it was said, â€˜Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.â€™ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:43-44That’s about as straightforward as it gets. But like another guy who heard Jesus teach about our neighbors (Luke 10:29), we tend to wonder which of our enemies he’s referring to? Sure, I’ll love myÂ theoreticalÂ enemy, but surely this has limits right? The typical Christian in America today might have this list of exclusions to Jesus’ enemy policy:
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they are trying to bring harm to me.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they are trying to bring harm to someone else.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they speak a different language than me.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they are not American.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if I’m a part of theÂ US military.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they are a part of a group named ISIS, or the Taliban, or Al-Qaeda, etc.
- I don’t have to love my enemy if they are trying to break into my house at night.
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