Have you ever noticed how more liberal leaning churches and denominations place an emphasis on “love”? When you are talking with one of these churches/people you might make a statement about how the Bible condemns some particular sin they don’t seem to care about. The response will usually be: “Jesus tells us to love our enemies.” This has never sat well with me and I’d like to tell you why.When Jesus says we are to “love our enemies” (Matthew 5:44) he understands something so profound and simple that completely flies over the heads of most liberals: You have to have enemies in order to love them!
So many Movements/churches/people tend to turn the “love your enemies” phraseology into something that actually means “You should have such low standards for sin that you have no enemies.”
Jesus had enemies, they were called the pharisees and the reason he did so wasn’t because he was some granola hippie who got all the pharisees’ self-righteous panties in a wad. No, the reason Jesus had enemies in the pharisees was because he drew very clear lines of distinction between his understanding of the Law and the Prophets with their interpretations. The Pharisees would misconstrue parts of the law where it was legal to require an equal return from someone who wronged you (“an eye for an eye”) in order to promote themselves to the detriment of their colleagues or anyone else who might get in the way. Jesus knew that this was not what “an eye for an eye” was all about and he confronted them. Jesus confronted them very clearly and publicly and he made enemies in the course of doing so. These people where his enemies to such an extend that they planned (successfully by the way) to kill Jesus with yet more distortions of the Law and giving themselves back over to Pharaoh…I mean Cesar (“We have no king but Cesar” John 19:15).
Did Jesus love these people? You betcha! Not long after this horrible betrayal of conscience and Law is Jesus Crucified and he prays to the Father that these people would be forgiven (Luke 23:34)
“Loving our enemies and praying for them” does not mean not having any enemies. Moreover, Jesus said that as the Gospel of Christ goes forth to conquer the world enemies will arise who will not submit to his kingdom (John 15: 18-20). The reason these enemies are created is due to the fact that Christians are carrying forth the message of Jesus. The message of the Gospel is a “testimony” about something that has happened that was so massive that in hearing this testimony there is no middle ground. You are either for Christ or against his kingdom as an enemy (Matthew 12:30).
The liberal argument says that the message of Jesus is to love your enemies. My response to that is that the real message of Jesus causes you to have enemies and he calls you to love them anyway.
Food for thought!