Monday, July 13, 2009

Is Hating my Enemy Easier?

In my last blog entry I was bemoaning the hard teaching of "love your enemy." Shortly after I posted this, I was listening to a teaching by Dallas Willard that corrected my misperception. Willard points out that the alternative of loving our enemy, i.e. hating him, is not any easier. After considering the wisdom of Dallas Willard for a bit, it became obvious to me that he is absolutely right!

Just look at all the revenge/hate cycles that have destroyed the Middle East for millenia. This began with the Jacob and Esau feud which continues today between the Israelis and Arabs. On a more personal level look at all the lives that are destroyed by individual haters as they kill people, even their own families. Hate is much harder than love. The biological damage hate does to our bodies through stress and blood pressure and heart problems alone is enough to cause us to question if love might not be a better way.

One person I know who hates me is repeatedly wrecking his own life and destroying the lives of those who he professes to love. Human hate is stupid, self-destructive, and foolish. The only hate that works is the righteous hate of God which is reserved for sinners who refuse to repent. God hates unrepentant haters, but he overcomes them with His love as shown by the Cross. Those who relent and repent of their hate can receive the free gift of grace. Love wins!

I now believe loving my human enemy is better than hating him, but my natural instincts are to engage in hate. The only way I know to really love my enemy is through the power of the spirit of God working through me to do what I cannot do on my own. I want to do what God wants, and He will help me do it. Jesus said "my yoke is easy and My burden is light" but it is still a burden. The burden of hate is hard and heavy by comparison. Which burden are you going to bear? I need to learn to bear the burden of love because it seems obvious the burden of hate is heavier.

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