Loving our “own kind” and those who already love us is easy love. Where’s the “surpassing righteousness” or reward in that? It brings God maximum glory when our love is as expansive as his.
I admit that the enemy-love message is not exactly what you’d call “attractional.” Sadly, it’s easier to gather a crowd with the message about a God who blesses our battles and hates our enemies as much as we do. Fear, anger, and hate are more popular than love and more natural to our darker selves. Unrestricted love is neither popular nor natural. It might fit nicely on a billboard or in a country song, but when it comes to actually practicing the kind of love Jesus commands, we’d much rather love in the abstract.
Those whose ego is so relaxed by God’s love, needn’t claim superiority to those unlike them or despise those who dislike them.
This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.
2 Replies to “Unrestricted Love”
Is this a universal admonition? What about the clear enemies of humanity. This is one of those conundrums for me. I knew a couple of conscientious objectors in the army. This was during the draft. Are those who enlist now wrong? Is there place where Jesus parsed this a little finer. I’m talking about Jesus not the Old Testament. Do I never have a choice but to love those I deem enemies? To act in a just way sometimes I do have to hate.
Taken at face value, Jesus seems to teach nonviolent resistance across the board. This would look like pacifism to some. Then there’s the “Just War” theory concocted by Augustine, which is more popular among many Christians. I am wrestling with this myself and don’t have a definitive answer, though I lean toward pacifism in most cases.
Relating to those who threaten our national security, I think the rule of love applies. I think we have to love those who harm or threaten to harm us. That doesn’t mean trust them or rush over to North Korea with a box of See’s. We can love a lot of people from a distance. (That’s how I love Donald Trump.)
Never having been in the service, I can’t speak from experience, but I think, if a Christian does to war, he/she should either find a way to serve without actually killing (like in Hacksaw Ridge) or be willing to kill but with a broken heart.
That’s all I’ve got for now.