There is a much more readable explanatory grid on Wikimedia’s Commons. I ran across these while looking for a graphic to go with my subject today – Enemies. I was reminded that Jews were not the only enemies of the Third Reich. I was also reminded that – while we do not place fabric labels on prison pajamas – we label our enemies with hateful words, curse them with colorful phrases, apply biblical descriptions with a relish that is unseemly from followers of Christ.
Even though we’ve been taught:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:43-44 KJV)
And, we’ve been told why:
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? (Matthew 5:45-46 KJV)
Oh, we cling to these verses and pray for those we do not love. But we sort of ignore similar verses in Luke:
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36 KJV)
Do you see the additional information Luke gives us in Jesus’ words? Let me focus for a moment on those words:
… for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
The next verse, Luke 6:37, is often thrown in the face of Christians (by those who do not follow Christ) as examples of hypocrisy. I think they missed an even greater example in verse 35. Christians too often are not kind to those who are ungrateful and especially to those who do evil, sinning against God.
You disagree? Really? You can give examples of doing for the ungrateful? I can too. Wonderfully dedicated missionaries who work in our area, nearby cities, our state, our country, other nations – some who have died at the hands of what we consider evil. But . . . what about ourselves, in our daily life, when we condemn others? When does that move from discernment to judgmental?
Yes, Christ defined judgment and who would face it – please remember, it was His place to judge. He also taught us what to do when we’re facing evil:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 KJV)
Continue reading all the counsel of God.