Summary: A look at the how and why’s of loving our enemies.
May 29-30th, 2004
What do you say to God when… you’d rather kill your enemies than love them?
Anyone can tell you, whether they’re a Christian or not, that Christians are supposed to love their enemies. We’re supposed to be nice to everyone, not hate our enemies. But that’s kind of a cop out- does that mean that because I’m a Christian people don’t make me mad? Does that mean that as a Christian I am supposed to be happy when someone constantly makes fun of me or beats me up?
Just saying, “love your enemies” doesn’t get rid of those feelings that we have about some people that are, let’s face it, just plain evil sometimes.
I remember growing up, there were two brothers that lived on my block that were the biggest jerks. I’ll never forget their names, Brian and Keith. They made some of my summer days miserable during grade school and junior high. Keith was the one with the mouth on him, he was a year older than me, but he was scrawny. I wasn’t the biggest kid growing up, but I could have taken Keith down easily. But his older brother Brian was tough, and beat a couple of the kids up on the block more than once. I never physically fought them, I knew Brian would kill me, and I knew if I touched Keith, Brian would kill me again… but they just changed everything. I remember going home one day after something happened just wishing they would die. I know that’s an awful thing to say, but it’s how I felt at the time. They were the closest things I’ve ever had to real enemies. There are some people I don’t get along with now, but no one has ever been in that category of mine where I’ve had feelings like that towards them.
Of course, I was in grade school and junior high back then. But listen to the way David talks about some of his enemies in his Psalms.
Psalms 109:8-15, 20
“May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars;
May they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has;
May strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
May the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
May their sins always remain before the Lord,
That he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil to me.
O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—
He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
“Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.”
When you first hear those words, the first thing that might come to your mind Is that it was written by someone who needs some anger management, not a man of God. That sounds nothing like the Biblical, “love your enemies,” does it? The comforting thing is that even God’s chosen king, “David” the one he called “the man after my own heart,” struggled with these harsh feelings towards his enemies. That makes me feel a little bit better. So I know David had the same feelings sometimes, so what did he do about them? Remember, David lived before Jesus came to earth, so he didn’t have the “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” speech from Jesus.
1) David went to God with his feelings
Maybe this is giving us some insight on why God referred to him as being after his own heart. The Psalms are like a spiritual journal. They’re a look at the most intimate feelings of David. When he felt like God was far away or hiding, when he felt that God was being unfair, and when he wanted his enemies and their families to die, he talked to God about it. He was honest with God. How many of us are really careful when we talk to God… maybe we use language we don’t normally use, and maybe words we don’t really even know what they mean. I think one reason why God called David a “man after his own heart” was because David was completely honest with God. You can tell from those passages, he wasn’t hiding his feelings from God. He wasn’t trying to be someone he wasn’t. But he went to God first.