Love your enemy.
That is what Jesus told us to do.
The implication there is radical. That I have an enemy. That seems like such a foreign thought. We all want to be so tolerant… So accepting… So kind…
Does my faith even allow me to have an enemy? I’m a pastor. How could I make someone mad?
Forget pastor – I’m a Christian. Don’t I have to be nice to everyone so I can win one more person to Christ? (That is assuming that I would be so contradictory that I would tell some one that Christ is the only answer for them.)
Isn’t that the reason I have a fish on the back of my car? Isn’t that why my t-shirts all have cheesy slogans that I borrowed from beer commercials but are actually about God? Isn’t that why I go to Bible studies to learn about how nice God was to the Egyptians and the Philistines and the money changers? Isn’t that why I listen to the music that only slightly bad-mouths Jesus but does it in such a wonderfully moralistic way and really makes me think?
I have enemies. There are people in this beautiful world right now that hate my faith. Neighbors that hate my God. Onlookers that would like nothing more than to see me get pulled over so that they can say, “Ha! I knew that Jesus thing wasn’t so great…”
I hope you understand this: I am not talking about having enemies for the sake of having enemies. That is easy. I did that when I was in fifth grade.
I am talking about finally being bold enough to say something that people hate.
People hate Jesus.
Have I been so silent with that name that I have no opposition?
Let it be no more.
God, please give me the opportunity to live out your command in Matthew 5:44.