Do You Love Your Enemies Enough to Hate Them?


Jesus said to love our enemies.

That is what he said, as Matthew recounts his words from the Sermon on the Mount:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” (Matthew [5:43]–44, emphasis added)

And when Jesus said “love,” we should be clear that he didn’t mean hollow good will, or some bland benevolence, or a flakey niceness that hopes our enemies stop being so cruel. Jesus never talks about love that way. A category for love like that — the anything-goes, pat-on-the-head, can’t-we-all-just-get-along kind of love — is a phenomenon peculiar to our own day. When Jesus says to love our enemies, he means that we love them with a lay-your-life-down type of love — the type that comes from the heart and desires the other’s good, and sacrifices for it, when no one else but God is watching.

And it’s the type of love that includes hate.

The Hate of Love

In fact, if the love is real, it must include hate. We’ve seen or experienced something like this before, though it might be more complex than we first thought. Love that rightfully includes hate needs to navigate between the two ditches of unhelpful generality and selfishness in disguise.

Written by Jonathan Parnell
Read more at Desiring God

2 thoughts on “Do You Love Your Enemies Enough to Hate Them?

  1. Is not an easy task. How to love the terrorists who kill so many innocents? How to love murderers? How to love betrayers? How to love your abuser?

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