Loving Our Enemies

All people love their friends.
Only Christians love their enemies.

– Tertullian

Love seeks the good of the one loved.  Everything else is secondary to this.  This is what God does for us.  This is how the followers of Christ are called to live toward all people.

Love for our enemies is a genuine summary of the entire gospel.  Love for one’s enemies is the fulfillment of Christian praxis.  It is thoroughly impossible to believe in your head that you love God but to withhold your love from anyone else as a Christian.

There is no doubt that the New Testament recognizes each person as an enemy of God.  It’s where we all begin.  Alienated.  Hostile.  Stiff-necked.  Narcissistic.  Genuine awakening to this state creates a very real psychological crisis in our self-perception.

Love of those who would do you in may or not be more or less spontaneous depending on the person.  But in either case it involves an essentially ascetic struggle against the temptation for self-justification and subsequent revenge.

Those who love sacrifice their right to any and all juridical opinion making.

Enemies have great value to Christ’s followers; enemies reveal that which is in our own hearts and which remains disguised until we are not on good grounds with others.  Only then may our character be further forged.  Only then do we have the opportunity to turn the other cheek, or of handing over our coat to those who would take it.

Christ places this command to love our enemies next to…prayer.  Pray for those who persecute you.  Praying for others means carrying others, not judging them or working destructively against them.

Loving your enemies calls for an intelligence of the heart and an interior richness.

You cannot be a Christian and not seek the unconditional good of those who would do you in.  That is what it means to love…