Wednesday, April 4
... Another sleepless night. At two forty-five, Elise finally decided to get up and work these issues out via “Advice for the Life-Worn.”
I know we are commanded to love our enemies. But I just can’t seem to do that with those who have hurt me. Any advice?
The question’s simplicity startled her.
That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
She started typing at furious pace.
I imagine that most Christians struggle to love their enemies, but I keep coming back to one simple fact: it’s a direct command from the Lord, from the Sermon on the Mount, no less. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
A wise man once said that knowledge is knowing scripture's commands, wisdom is knowing their applications, and understanding is knowing why they’re necessary. Let’s see how that applies to this verse.
Clearly, we’ve got the “knowledge” part down pat, in acknowledging what scripture says about loving our enemies. It doesn’t get much clearer than this, does it?
And the application? Equally easy. It applies across the board. Jesus did not say, “love your enemies unless they betrayed you in an especially hurtful manner,” or “bless those who curse you unless they are total hypocrites.”
But what about the understanding? Why are we to do this? I think we will find the key to obedience here, if we meditate on it sufficiently. That’s something you need to do yourself, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But perhaps I can give you a start.
So why should we love our enemies, beyond it being a command of Christ?
Well, one reason would be to point them to Him, right? If we represent Him and our enemies hate us, then they hate Him. And we should share His desire for—as the apostle Paul told Timothy—all people “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” One of the best ways to support Him in this is to show His love to even those who have treated us like trash.
Here’s another reason: like all His commands, obeying this one is good for us.
If I hate, it tears me up inside. It wastes my time. It frustrates me as I go over and over and over the same territory in my mind and heart. It destroys me, and does nothing to hurt the object of my hatred.
Whereas if I love this person with the unconditional, self-sacrificing love of Christ, I not only demonstrate God’s agape love to him or her, I also see myself set free from all that inner turmoil and torment.
I’ve only scratched the surface here, Beatrice. Try meditating on these things in light of your own particular circumstances, and see where the Lord will lead you. It’s my prayer that you will find yourself changed.
Elise made some edits and posted the column before tumbling back into bed.
Amazing—I do feel free!
She suspected that it was only a temporary fix at this point, that she would need to reflect on this scripture at greater length and flex this flabby spiritual muscle in various tests before the changes could even approach permanence.
But she was already miles ahead of where she’d been just an hour ago, she knew.
As if to prove it, she promptly fell into a luscious sleep.