God’s command to love our enemies can seem like bitter, distasteful medicine. But, like the castor oil I had to swallow in my youth, it is medicine that heals.
Jesus states very clearly: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, 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 5:43–44).
Was Jesus contradicting the law here? Not at all. He was reversing the spirit of flesh that had entered the law. At that time, Jews loved only other Jews. A Jew wasn’t to shake hands with a Gentile, or even allow his robe to swish against an outsider’s clothing. Yet, this wasn’t the spirit of the law. The law was holy, instructing, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25:21–22).
We can hate the immoral actions of those in government. We can hate the sins of homosexuals, abortionists and all Christ despisers. But the Lord commands us to love them as people—people for whom Jesus died. And he commands us to pray for them. If at any time I despise a person rather than the principle behind that person, I’m not truly representing Christ.
I have witnessed a homosexual parade on Fifth Avenue here in New York City. Two hundred fifty thousand gays, many half nude, some with signs proclaiming “God is Gay.” I saw them break rank and jump on Christians carrying signs, “God HATES Your Sin—But He Loves You.”
I blushed with hot anger. I felt like calling Sodom-like fire upon them. But on reflection, I said to my heart, “I am like the disciples who wanted to call down fire and consume those who rejected Jesus.”
I say—Homosexuality is sin! So is adultery! So is bitterness and unforgiveness.
Love your enemies! Love those “in your face” militant sinners? Pray for them? Bless them that curse you?
That is exactly what Jesus said!
So do it!