A couple days ago I was participating in an event where we were all praying to the Creator for a prolonged period of time.
What kept coming into my mind was the reminder: “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES”. Here’s the full quote from the New International Version’s Matthew 5:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] 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.
On a personal level, I thought of the recent enemies in my life whom I have been giving a lot of attention to: my ex-wife and my Prime Minister. Both of them have been acting like a pain in the toosh to me lately. One on a micro-scale, the other on a macro-scale.
While I deplore their values, I must always remember that they are humans created in Yahweh’s image. They are, in many senses, children of the Most High. If their attitudes change, I could be like a brother to them. They are redeemable. And even if they never change, I should always recall that I too could easily become a jerk. Indeed, ask my present relations, friends, neighbours and co-workers, I still have many jerkish sides to me. I should also bear in mind that love is always the answer. It may mean resisting love, love that uses non-violent tactics to fight and win the battle. But it is always love, it always gives the enemy a way out, a way of repentance.
Enemies are humans. They may appear like animals, but they remain humans. And every human is precious in the sight of our Creator. Thus, I have no right hating them. I may strongly dislike them and their actions, but I must perpetually hold love and respect for them as humans. All of creation, whether humans, animals, plants, geography, the weather patterns, all needs to be respected by us, their fellow creatures.
So I prayed for my ex-wife and Stephen Harper during that spiritual event. I was good for me, for my heart. And I hope it will be good for them, and that the Creator heard my prayers. And will bless my ongoing resistance to values that are not respectful to humans or Mother Nature. Bless it all, Lord!
The last couple days I’ve been checking out Jacques Ellul’s book called Violence:Reflections from a Christian Perspective. His thesis is that as followers of the Sacred Scriptures we must resist violence at all costs, in all situations. This includes standing up against evil systems. To use violence, says Ellul, is ultimately to justify the dark system you seek to destroy.
As believers in Yeshua the Messiah, we may sympathise when the oppressed used violence as an explosion of desperation. But we must never join in. Because once the downtrodden have won power, they begin to oppress their former oppressors. Thus, the roles are reversed. It is in this situation that followers of the Messiah must turn against the new oppressors, the latest regime that has seized power, for they are now the evil doers.
Followers of Yeshua must always keep their prophetic edge in society. While we support leaders who do good, we must always be vigilant against supporting oppression in any of its forms. Anarchism could become the new totalitarianism.
This includes fighting wars for so-called “freedom”. Or sending out armies to “free” oppressed peoples, which is what the West supposedly did in sending their armies into Afghanistan and Iraq, or in supporting the revolutionary movements in Libya or other places. Is it the desire to see people set free that motivates us, or the craving for more power in more areas of the globe?
Whether violent or non-violent, we should look at these regime changes in Serbia, Ukraine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, etc. and ask ourselves if it was the US and other Western countries behind the rebel movements. Backing these “freedom fighters” in order to have convenient puppets installed in all these small countries.
Check out “Freedom House” on Google to know where the funding source for many so-called uprisings against oppression comes from, especially the non-violent ones using the resistance tactics of Gene Sharp. And also research where the weapons and consultants are coming from in the recent “Jasmine” movements.
Seems a little ironic that the US is still funding so many groups that will be answering to it, when their own economy will not be able to support outside movements, let alone their own American people. Perhaps all these expenses helping compliant outsiders will be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the US economy. Debt and military overstretch – 2 huge factors in taking down the world’s richest and most powerful Empires that ever existed.
Sorry for meandering here. Must be the influence of Jacques Ellul.
Here’s to loving our enemies, but at the same time standing against their value systems.
Our enemies may be jerks, but to hate them is to become jerks like them.