loving your enemies

Jesus tells us, indeed commands us to love our enemies. This is a hard saying, one of Jesus’ hard sayings. It is especially hard, when a friend, even a brother or sister in Jesus breaks relationship with you and refuses reconciliation, contrary again to the command of Christ.

I’ve heard over and over again that to love one’s enemies is supernatural. It certainly is beyond us sinners. But in Jesus and as followers of Jesus we have an entirely new life, and are to have a new orientation. But we have imbibed the culture and attitude of the world on this, I’m afraid. It is tit for tat, a power play to take care of evil, just as the world does it.

No, in our following of Jesus, loving our enemies should become more and more a natural part of who we are. We do it, and more and more we do it in the same love in which we live, the love of God in Jesus by the Spirit.

There is no need to say, “I am not at that place. I can’t obey this or that command of Christ. I need to pray and ask God for grace to do so.” One may need to say that at a certain point, and particularly the last part is good, praying for grace. But forgiving and loving even our enemies should become a natural part of who we are in Jesus.

This doesn’t mean that we will arrive on this point (or any other) in this life, because we may indeed stumble or struggle in our attitude toward others. But living out the gospel should be part and parcel of who we are in Jesus, and living out that gospel involves forgiving those who have wronged us. It is the way of the cross, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation, the way of Jesus. Together with others in Jesus, for the world.

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