This will be a tough one—for me, at least. The enemies faced each and every hour of each and every day are prolific in dispensing their wickedness. We have looked at their perpetration of evil many times. We have no choice, because it never ends, and we are commissioned from on high to “watch” (Mark 13:37).
This incessant raging against our sense of truth–of what is biblically righteous—evokes human anger, no matter the devotion to trying to be Christ-like in our attitude and comportment.
Now, to get into this just a bit–and I don’t want to go too deeply into the weeds—I’ll just begin by telling, obliquely, a little about conversations I have occasionally with family members. I say “obliquely” because I don’t want them mad at me, so I won’t say who.
The conversations sometimes are as early as 4 am. Yes, I’m an early riser, and sometimes, when family members happen to be around at that hour, we discuss things going on in culture, politics, religion, etc. The more adamant among the conversationalists are quite angry at the injustice, the tyranny, the wickedness taking place as we look at the things being reported. To be frank, they often cook up what they would like to see happen to those engaged in perpetrating the injustice, the tyranny, the wickedness. The punitive creativity is not something I would be comfortable relaying in this forum.
My response to one or the other telling just how they would like this evil to be handled is that that isn’t the way a Christian should think. They say things like “I know, Pops, but it makes me so mad I can’t help it.”
In response to the expressed actions, I say things like, “Do you think Jesus would react that way, even to this level of evil, were He here in the flesh today?”
That usually brings down their heated temperaments, to some extent. They then might retort with something like, “Yes. But He’s God and I’m not.”
At any rate, the whole matter, I believe, is a valuable exercise in evaluating ourselves in regard to our own dealing with this injustice, tyranny, and wickedness we as Christians endure each day.
We all know about the outrageous acts, issues, and events that afflict us that challenge our temperaments. We’ve covered all of them so many times in these commentaries.
Those who inflict these evil upon our lives, while we only want to live peaceably, are enemies. We can say this, because they are the tools of the archenemy of God, thus enemies of each of us within God’s family who are living on planet earth.
Those who want to break into our lives and steal our tranquility, our peace, and even our children, not even to mention our welfare financially through unfair-to-absurd confiscatory taxation, can be compared to the “thief” in the following:
“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils” (Luke 11: 21–22).
Jesus, although in the context of prophecy involving watching for the suddenness of the Rapture, further gave, through analogy, warning about being watchful for evil break-ins:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up” (Matthew 24:42–43).
So, it is clear that the Bible instructs believers to be aware of enemies wanting to do us harm. We are told even to be armed in order to protect our households–defend ourselves against harm. But nowhere are we told to hate our enemies. On the contrary, we are told the following through a quite lengthy instruction for how to deal with our enemies. It comes from the Lord, Himself:
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6: 27–38).
Now I must admit that I find loving the enemies today who murder babies by the millions, who more and more draw this culture into the cesspool of pedophilia–a thing that has been prevalent in most every civilization at its end—all but impossible. But that doesn’t alter the truth that we are told by our Lord that this is what we should do.
He showed that love Himself, we remember, while hanging on that cross on which He died for us. The martyr Stephen did so while being stoned, and the Lord stood from the right hand of God’s throne to applaud him.
Apart from the love of Christ–of God the Father—ours would be fate much worse than the punitive actions sometimes concocted in those early-morning sessions to which I referred.
I guess the answer to how to begin to appropriate such love–and we cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit who indwells—might be found in my friend, the late Dr. Tim LaHaye’s, book–The Spirit Controlled Temperament. That book, of course, was filled with God’s Word in coming to its conclusions.
I should probably pick up that book and read it again.