[Column] Love Even Your Enemy

Love Even Your Enemy

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

 

It is obvious loving one’s enemy is without a doubt the most difficult of all the commandments in the Bible. Even so only when we keep this commandment can we truly become the “children of your (our) Father”(Matthew 5:45) When we love even our enemy, can we be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect: For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:46-48).

Loving one’s enemy is not an emotional love. Lord did not tell us to be affectionate toward our enemies. The Greek word for love in this passage is Agape. It is an all understanding, life-giving, redemptive and unconditional love. Moreover, Agape is an irreciprocal love. We must be grateful that Jesus did not command us to “like your enemy.” Liking entails emotions. How can we like those who dislike or hate us? Because Agape is God’s love, man with his own power cannot achieve it. Agape love is realized when God pours upon us His Fatherly love by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rome 5:5).

Why must we love our enemies? Martin Luther King presents the following as the reasons. First, hate gives rise to more hate. Hate adds to more hate; violence to more violence; obstinacy to more obstinacy. Ultimately, it leads to destruction. Second, hate injures man’s soul and distorts his character. Hate harms the hater as well. Like malignant cancer, it eats up character and gnaws away one’s life. Hate destroys the values and objective judgment of an individual. Psychiatrists report in some study that many strange occurrences in the subconscious, or internal conflicts, are attributed to hate. Third, only love has the power to transform one’s enemies into friends. Essentially, hate destroys and rips apart whereas love creates and constructs.

Love brings about transformation through its power of redemption. Therefore we must be able to love even our enemies. By loving them, we know God, experience His Holiness, and grow perfect.

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