Love Your Enemies Q&A

Last week I posted this video, and some questions came in. I'll answer a few of them below! 

"I love my son perhaps the most in the world but I understand that even heathens love their children. How do I love my enemies as much as my son? I know I should and want to with all my heart."

I don't think it's necessary to compare or quantify love for enemies in this way. If your son and an enemy were both drowning and you could only save one, it's natural that you would reach for your son, and it wouldn't be fair to beat yourself up that when it really came down to it, you had a preference for him. That said, it's good that there is at least a desire within you to have a more loving attitude towards enemies.

At first, loving enemies is mostly an act of the will. Even if you hate your enemies, resolve to behave towards them as though you don't. Be nice, be kind, be generous...even if you have to grit your teeth and bite your tongue to do it. If you do that, a strange thing happens. Soon you'll discover that you really do have an affection for them that wasn't there before. You'll find you no longer have to grit your teeth or bite your tongue quite as much. It's a bit like "fake it til you make it". Your heart will soften. It might be unnatural and incredibly hard at first, but practice it, ask the Holy Spirit for help, and it becomes easier. It really does. It slowly becomes a part of your character.

You'll also find that the more you make a determined choice to love something, the more lovable it will become. In fact GK Chesterton wrote that this was the great lesson from Beauty & The Beast. He said, "There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast'. That a thing must be loved before it is lovable." This is what Jesus did for us. He loved us before we were lovable. He died for us while we were still sinners. While we were still his enemies. And through that act of redemption, we began to be beautified and sanctified. We began being made into his image. We began being made lovable. He now calls us to do the same for others. 

Basically then, be determined to love people, no matter how they treat you or what they say about you. That will bring transformation to your own heart and it will also transform the people around you too. (Humility is absolutely necessary to even begin this process. If you are really struggling with this, work on humility and you'll get there faster. But that's a whole other topic.)

"You can love your enemies by letting them know what God's word says. That's real love."

I agree but I think I already said that in the video. In "The War On Truth" series, I was very keen to make the point that love isn't what Postmodernists have made it out to be. In this Age, people have attempted to divorce love from truth and righteousness, not realising that when we do that, love actually becomes unloving. For example, it's actually unloving to tell people outside of Christ that they're going to inherit eternal life, because the truth is they won't. It's more loving they know that truth. Similarly, it's unloving to tell people that God is ok with their sin, because the truth is that he isn't, and their sin is damaging them. For example, homosexual sin leads to disease and instability. Transgenderism leads to unresolved mental issues and depression. Alcoholism leads to disease. Fornication leads to disease and unwanted pregnancies. These are facts. It's more loving to tell the truth and assert righteousness in these issues so they can find healing. Real love is always welded to truth and righteousness like this. So yes, when Jesus says, "love enemies", keep pointing them to His Word.

Just remember to speak the truth in love though (See Ephesians 4:15) You often get people who say cruel, dispiriting and condemnatory things, and when challenged about why they're being so harsh, they say things like, "I'm just an honest person". Or, "I'm just too truthful." If you're not infusing your truth-telling with love, you're not acting in a Biblical manner either. Don't argue with people to crush them; argue with them to win them to Christ. Never lose sight of that goal. And a bit like Aesop's fable, you'll often win more people by being a warm sun than by being a north wind. 

"By loving our enemies, are you saying that the West should let Muslim Syrian refugees stream into our countries unhindered?"

I can see why some thought this video was prompted by the Syrian refugee crisis, but it wasn't. It was prompted when a left wing journalist got in touch last month for an interview, because he was trying to draw a connection between "Christian nationalism"/"the American right", and a kid who was found preparing to shoot up a college in the US. It suits the narrative of the far left to make these connections so I wanted to make sure it gains no traction and that the Christian position is clear. I'll say it again - anyone who has ever thought of harming other human beings in this way has no Biblical mandate at all, and would be in fact, acting in direct contravention to the teaching of Jesus. Jesus said to love our enemies. Period. Christianity provides no basis whatsoever for committing acts of violence. 

Now whatever "the American right" has to say on the issue of violence, I'm not the person to ask. This is because I'm not American and as I outlined in The War On Truth, I don't even regard myself as being on the right. I used that series to specifically outline why all Christians need to be gravitating towards the centre and why we need to discourage polarising extremism on both sides of the debate. I can only speak for Christianity in this issue and repeat that violence is simply not permitted in any way by God. In fact, it's a terrible sin. 

As for the original question about the Syrian refugee crisis, I happen to not think it's a good idea to open wide the doors to the West. But that's a blog for another day! Indeed, there were a few more questions I wanted to get to here but this blog is getting lengthy. I'll leave them for now and we will revisit this subject another time!