- William T. Howe Ph.D.
February 20, 2023
The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Loving your enemies is not an easy ask. But Jesus does not ask us to do so; He commands it. When Jesus said in John 14:15, If ye love me, keep my commandments He was speaking of, among many others, this commandment.
To fully understand this command its previous verse and following verse must be known.
The previous verse states: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou, shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. The first part of this verse is first mentioned in Leviticus 19:18. Herein the Hebrews were commanded to love their neighbors. Evidently the last part was added by the teachers of the law in that just as an enemy is contrary to a neighbor, so too is hate the contrary of love. Notice Jesus did not say that they “read” but that they “heard” this teaching of loving your neighbor and hating your enemy. Their rationale must have been “If God told me to love my neighbor then it is permissible to hate my enemy.” Nowhere in the totality of the Bible is it written to hate your enemy.
The following verse states: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. God does not hate His enemies. He loves them and does good unto them. If He wanted to, God could ordain that His sun would only shine on His people, or that the rain would only fall on His children, but the sun shines on both, and the rain falls on both. Both the sun and the rain are vital to life, therefore God gives to friend and enemy alike that which they need for life.
Notice though a point most often overlooked. When Jesus said That ye may be the children of your Father… He is not stating that loving your enemy makes a person a child of God, for that is a contradiction to the Gospel of grace. But, rather, that by loving an enemy a person is identifiable as a child of God which is only doing that which their Father in Heaven does.
Again, loving an enemy is no easy ask, or command, but it is an edge, a Bible Edge for interpersonal relationships. After all, not all relationships are with neighbors, some are with enemies.
William Howe, Ph.D.