Below is one entry in a series I'm writing that goes through each part of Jesus' sermon on the mount (Mathew 5:21-7:27)
This has been the hardest one to write so far because I have been processing feelings about this for a long time. I think I need to be taught how to love my enemies. How do I pray for those who curse me and want good for those who despise me? I would say my life has not had to answer those kinds of questions many times. There have been people who took advantage of my kindness that caused me bitterness but there has been nothing like an enemy I need to forgive. The only enemies I have are monumental and outside of my circle of influence. The enemies I have I do feel genuine hatred for but they are people I don't feel like I can do anything to, to act on my hatred. What I mean by this is, if I consider Donald Trump my enemy then in order to follow this scripture I need to love him and pray for him. Honestly that seems very hard to do, genuinely. I can pray for him as I would pray for someone I pity but I don't know that I can bring myself to want good to come to him. I honestly want him to succumb to his old age and die on national television. I want his adult children to suffer time in prison and have their lives destroyed. I want biblical old-time judgment to rain down on their heads. And here Jesus is telling me to love these people that I loathe.
I think he has a good point.
This kind of hatred was never in my heart before. I always found a way to love those I disliked before. But since 2016 I have been worked up to a frenzied state toward people and an agenda I don't fully understand. My hatred stems from an agenda that for whatever reason appears to be ending all the good that Obama put in place. But here's the rub. Even if he were setting up shop as a dictator and sending out death squads to gather up all the Christians, I would still be obligated to pray for him. God still loved pharoah when he was fighting him and his people in Egypt and he still desires that all his enemies would come back to him. For God, each human relationship is like the one he had with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He's either asking where you are because you've realized your naked and your hiding in a bush or he's walking with you and talking with you one-on-one. Your relationship is that important to him and he will move heaven and earth to bring you back into a right and loving one with him. We are to do this too. In order that God may be glorified and also in order that your heart may be freed from the poison that is the hatred of your enemies.
Hatred is the quickest and easiest reaction we can have toward someone who thwarts our will but it is obviously not the most Godly one. Jesus calls us to love those who we consider enemies and pray for them because they are all God's children. We were once his enemies too. God takes care of each of us each day and he took care of us even when we were his enemies. He sends the rain down upon the just and the unjust. He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good. In this way he is calling us to be like our heavenly father who is perfect. He gives to his enemies and wants their good. Jesus saw God, face to face, as perfectly as God could be seen and what he saw was someone who cares for those who despise him and work against him. In that way he does not let their actions gain control over him. He blesses and wants the best for all so his family can be bigger. I don't want to fall victim to the automatic hatred of those I'm told are my enemies, for many reasons, but the most prominent one is that God loves them. God loves Donald Trump. He cause the sun to shine down on the evil and the good and I should realize that I am no different in the light of God's perfect righteousness. His love for me is what lead me to Jesus and my love for those I perceive as enemies can also lead to their salvation.