God’s command to love our enemies can seem like bitter, distasteful medicine. Like the castor oil I had to swallow in my youth, though, it is medicine that heals.
Jesus states very clearly, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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” (Matthew 5:43–44, NKJV).
Was Jesus contradicting the law here? Not at all. He was reversing the spirit of flesh that had entered the law. At that time, Jews loved only other Jews. A Jew wasn’t to shake hands with a Gentile or even allow his robe to swish against an outsider’s clothing. This wasn’t the spirit of the law. The law was holy, instructing, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21–22).
We can hate the immoral actions of those in government. We can hate the sins of homosexuals, abortionists and all who despise Christ. But the Lord commands us to love them as people for whom Jesus died. He commands us to pray for them. If at any time, I despise a person rather than the principle behind that person, I’m not truly representing Christ.
I have witnessed a homosexual parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Two hundred fifty thousand gays, many half nude, some with signs proclaiming “God is Gay.” I saw them break rank and jump on Christians carrying signs, “God HATES Your Sin, but He Loves You.”
I blushed with hot anger. I felt like calling Sodom-like fire upon them. On reflection, though, I said to my heart, “I am like the disciples who wanted to call down fire to consume those who rejected Jesus.”
Homosexuality is sin. So is adultery. So is bitterness and unforgiveness.
Shall we love those “in your face” militant sinners? Pray for them? Bless them that curse you? That is exactly what Jesus said to do, so do it!