Loving our enemy is more difficult than it seems. Our sense of justice gets in the way. Jesus says to leave justice to Him.
29 The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.
A friend asked me what a favorite verse is out of chapter 29. This is it (along with verse 1…and several others). We understand why the wicked would detest the upright: Our righteousness is light, and those who work in darkness hate the light (John 3:19-21). But, is the righteous supposed to detest anyone? There are some qualifiers.
- Is the person intentional about the deceit? Did they truly mean to deceive?
- Was the person meaning to harm?
From an Old Testament perspective, King David hated those who hated God’s ways, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.” Psalm 139:21-22. But, Jesus said to treat them like a tax collector (Matthew 18:17). Let’s rephrase that: Treat them as He would a tax collector. What’s the difference? He made a tax collector one of His disciples: Matthew!
So, we have a dilemma. Shall we follow the OT (an eye for an eye) or shall we follow the NT (do unto others as you would have them do unto you)? It depends upon by which one we want to be judged. I, for one, do NOT want to be judged by the law; I want to be judged by Jesus. By the law, I am guilty of breaking ALL of the commandments (James 2:10). By the blood of Jesus, I am justified, “Just as if I’d never sinned.” (Romans 3:24, Romans 8:30). When we get to heaven, there will be no evidence of sin!
When we read this verse every month, it is a great reminder that we are under a new covenant with one command,
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 3:34-35
I like it this way, don’t you?
Abba, teach us to love one another and to love our enemies, even when they are being deliberately dishonest, dirty, rotten, mean and nasty. They were to You, yet You loved them dearly. May we be just like You, Jesus. Amen.