Loving Your Enemies

12 Aug

I had a friend in high school who after he had broken up with his high-school sweetheart always seemed to remember some of the great things about when they were together. He especially remembered a time saving device she had taught him. Unfortunately, I have a myriad of examples of the opposite. I have a number of friends who broke up with their significant other and have nothing positive to say about them.

I’m not sure what it is about separation between humans that lead us to want to deny anything positive about the other person or group. It usually is not enough for us to simply part ways and wish the other party the best, but we want to make sure we have the appearance of the best post-relationship life.

Obviously this is not exclusive to romantic relationships. How many people leave a job and want the company they leave to struggle? How many people have a little extra motivation when competing against their former team? How many of us naturally think a little less of someone if we find out they went to a different school? How many have difficulty relating to someone who votes differently than we do? I think an honest answer would say that we all struggle with this in one way or another.

I think the problem is that Luke 6:35 and Matthew 5:44 tell us that we cannot live that way. It is improper for us to wish someone ill and think we are living properly. We heard the stories in elementary school, but we find it difficult to live up to them.

In most situations, it is the precise things that made you love the situation for so long that cause you to hate it. So, in a way, disliking your former situation (or the people from it) is a form of self hatred. While I believe we need to mortify our sin and improve as people, I’m not sure the best way to accomplish that is to write off people from our past.

So, what do we do to meet this standard? The only thing I know to do is to strive for being the best we can be. To pray that all bitterness be removed from us. Because at the end of the day, I believe the natural reaction of a human is to hope the other party is shown that you are better, and yet, for a period of time, you were striving together for things. While the commonality of purpose may escape, our commitment to love them should continue.

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