A Time for Everything, Ecclesiastes 3, Verses 1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Eye for Eye, Love Your enemies - Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, Verses 38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Psalm 139, Verses 19-24, by David - Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 18, Verses 20-24, by David - The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
"Love your enemies" is more that just a phrase. "Love your God and love your neighbor" is the first commandment for Christians, but "love your enemies"? There are many types of love, so what does this even mean? For sure, hating our enemies is not loving our enemies. In love, we may consider rebuking, going to war, alarming our enemies, or purging our emotions under duress, but Christians hating?
What of God's example? God gives us grace, but he also deals with evil very harshly. God does not hate Christians, but only their sins. He does hate some of His enemies. Loving and/or hating your enemies is a complex issue. Often complex issues seem to fall in a gray area vs. black & white. But what is gray to us is often righteous to God - no doubt. "Love your enemies" is not a rule or law applied simply or easily, and mere man should not do things as if he were God.
David was beloved by God and He was a righteous king. His role in Biblical history is well known; his line - the line of David, is referred to in Jesus Christ's genealogy. In Psalms 139, David expresses perfect hatred on his enemies. He referred to them as God's enemies in the midst of a psalm where David mentions his own righteousness before God. David, a righteous man, hated God's enemies as a form of perfect justice and perfect hatred. After God's own heart, David had God directly on his mind and heart for the duration of his hatred. Therefore, he did not dwell on his hatred, nor carry out any vengeance with a hateful heart.
When you've hated, was your mind on God? Doesn't hatred usually spawn vengeance? Do we want Christianity to become a "vengeful for God" religion? Hatred has little, if any, Godly purpose among us who are struggling with righteousness. It should be used super-sparingly and wisely if at all, because of the nature of the flesh, and the dark nature of hatred. The Psalms of David are considered the inspired word of God. David is not carrying his hatred around as motivation for words and actions; instead, God is in his heart. As such, hatred should not motivate the heart of a man while he pursues justice, or he will lose sight of God's will in the matter. Curses by Godly men and women are never spawned from hatred or because of hatred, but spawned instead by higher Godly priorities, and this is the case of all the imprecatory passages within the Bible (including this one).
The Messiah's call is for all followers to show love towards our enemies, and this is easily seen as super-practical in heavenly terms, because it's hard to imagine God's will being carried out when hatred is involved. God's will was for Christ to set up a spiritual kingdom here on earth - the church, and His instructions are for those in attendance that day, and for us today. The church has a specific mission to carry out with its greatest commandment to love God and others. So love your enemies! Be very careful if you have any hatred - for the flesh is very powerful and you don't want to lose sight of God and His will for us.
Dear God, I pray that I am always slow to anger and never filled with hate. When I have hate within me, help me to rid of it wisely. If our leaders in authority, or my neighbors, are ever over-swept with hate about our common enemies, may it not be long-lasting. For perfect hate must not be long-lasting, as the hearts of men and women cannot take it. Hate eats at the flesh, and so I pray our common enemies are pursued justly with an even-keel, Godly-motivated heart. Help me to love my enemies. Praise be to the Almighty. Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.