Thursday, July 9, 2015

When We Can't Love Our Enemies

Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you.” (Luke 6:27) This is something I struggle with. It isn’t that I don’t desire to follow the command of Jesus. My problem is that I don’t know how to do it. In the past few weeks, I’ve encountered a number of enemies. There’s no question but that they hate me. Why? Because I have voiced my belief in God and his Word, and my belief that homosexuality is a sin. Many of these people were both homosexual and atheists who not only argued against my interpretation of the facts, they wouldn’t accept the facts and they became angry and resorted to profanity and name-calling. How do we love people like that?

I encountered these people online. Sometimes, I wonder whether I should engage in online conversations, but the Internet is where people are. If we’re not talking to people on Facebook, we’re ignoring a very large segment of the population that the Lord has sent us to reach. But online conversations are difficult. People read a comment and they file it away as “This person agrees with me” or “This person disagrees with me.” The people we encounter don’t tell us the problems they are facing, but that is one of the ways we love people, by providing a solution to their problems. It does us no good to tell people we love them. Love is an action and when we do it, people know it. Love has broken through the hard shell of many enemies. But I don’t see a way to love through the Internet.

Does that mean we should just give up? Should we just let the conversation play out without adding our voice to the mix? I’m reminded of Paul on Mars hill. When he spoke, there’s no evidence to suggest that this was anything other than a public forum that included people Paul had never met. He introduced them to Jesus and called for them to forsake idol worship. Some mocked him. Some delayed making a decision. But some believed.

Loving our enemies is something we all need to do, but sometimes, the only thing we can do is inform them of the truth. Some will mock us, telling us that our God was made up by man. Some will call us names and use curse word and profanity. Some will call what we say hatred. But I’m confident that the Holy Spirit will use our words to reach a few. We may not see the results directly, but some will listen.