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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Did Jesus Mean This Literally?

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Joined: 2006/5/11
Posts: 464
West Sussex, England


I believe this scripture here means we are to AGAPE Love our neighbour. This kind of Agape love isn't the PHILEO love which some may think is required.
Saying that we can only love our enemies when we feel affectional love (PHILEO) is the way a lot of Christians believe is the only way we should operate.

However, we don't need these feelings of PHILEO Love from God before we can AGAPE Love our neighbour in the way mentioned in this scripture. This AGAPE love is the kind where we do the right thing as a responsibilty, wether we feel like doing it or not. It is a part of the Christian life where we deny what our flesh is telling us to do.
Those who have discovered this secret life of self denial can go on to become mature in God.

David Keel

 2014/8/7 13:58Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5677


Thank you david... That is essentially what I was trying to say.

Bear you do not have to love an Islamic jihadist coming to kill your family, in the sense that you like him a whole lot. But you must feed him if he is hungry or give him something to drink if he is thirsty.

Whether you need to surrender your family is another matter altogether.


 2014/8/7 14:16Profile

Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


Greetings bear:

I came across this short teaching on loving your enemies. Perhaps there is something in it for you.

God Bless

When you hear the command, “...Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...” (Mat. 5:44) , it sounds like it would be a little bit of a problem or a war of self-control that God has invited us into. But that’s really not the case exactly.

If you are like Jesus, you will have enemies. There will be those that hate us, falsely accuse us, persecute us, twist and manipulate, or lie about any of us and so on. Jesus said that will happen. If that’s not happening to you, then you’re not much like Jesus. Jesus said no man is greater than his master. They did those things to Him, and if you’re like Him they will do those things to you. If you’re NOT like Him, then you don’t have to worry about any of that because all men will speak well of you and it won’t be a problem. You’ll be “spiritual,” “loving,” “kind,” “wonderful,” and no one will ever feel as if you are a threat to them or intimidating to them. If you don’t walk in truth and you aren’t like Jesus, then you won’t have any enemies. So, everyone who is like Jesus will have enemies. Otherwise, we’re a liar and the truth is not in us. Jesus promised us that we would have enemies if we’re like Him, because we’re not better or more loving or spiritual than He is.

Assuming that there are those that would call themselves our enemies, how then do we love them? One foundational issue that has to be established in our hearts is that God found us as His enemies. Now that doesn’t sound like something most of us would want to think about ourselves in our pre-Christ era. We didn’t assume that we were enemies of God. We didn’t think or say, “I hate God. I think I’ll attack Him.” But the Scriptures are clear that if we love the world, we are enemies of God. But, if there’s pride in our hearts and lives and we’re filled with self-love, then we’re enemies of God. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34; Jas. 4:6). There’s a war going on. In other words, we are His enemies.

Now, what did He do to us as His enemies? He didn’t assume that we would continue in that path of hating the truth and crucifying His Son without first opening His heart and being willing to be betrayed by a kiss. He exposed Himself to us, not to compromise the things that are true, but under the assumption that perhaps we’d change if we could see His love. So then, God didn’t lower His standard. He didn’t say it’s okay to be self-centered, hateful, lazy, proud, worldly, vain and egotistical, loving the things of the world, being filled with idolatry and greed, with slanderous tongues and temper. He didn’t say, “That’s okay, and you could be My friends anyway.” Those things do make us at enmity with God.

What He did was, He gave us an opportunity out of His kindness to turn from those things. We were His enemies and He opened His arms, not to accept our sin, but in willingness to forgive us if we repented. If we would turn from those things, He would overlook and remember our sins no more.

Basically, this idea of loving our enemies is remembering that we were God’s enemies. He didn’t lower the standard for us, but He was willing to give us opportunity after opportunity to make it right—without penalty, without remembering our iniquities. He was willing to give us opportunity after opportunity to make it right.

The standard remained the same, but forgiveness was full and free for those that would turn to Him, empty themselves, ask for His forgiveness and turn away from the things that made us His enemies.

Loving our enemies is to continually be open to remembering their iniquities no more if there’s a turning from them; a willingness to not hold their sins against them.

 2014/8/7 14:28Profile

Joined: 2012/7/14
Posts: 54


I think we must not confuse our "personal" enemies with the spiritual war that is occurring between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan.

1. If we have personal enemies because of our own carnality then we must enter into a attitude of repentance and reconciliation as the Holy Spirit leads us.

2. If they are enemies of ours because they and we are members of opposing forces in spiritual warfare then we must look beyond the person and identify the spiritual forces behind his or her actions and bind the strongman or whatever God desires us to do in intercessory prayer. We do not seem to have a problem with this when we pray for an unsaved loved one; even though he or she are members of the kingdom of darkness.

3. If they are physical persons and spiritual enemies who physically desire to hurt us or our loved ones we must defend ourselves both physically and in spiritual warfare. Unless, of course God directs us not to. Scripture is full of examples of divine protection and assistance in defense of the Godly.

There is scripture in Revelations that speaks of a time when God gives Satan power to overcome the saints -- but, I do not think we are there yet -- and pray we are not. The current persecution and murder of the saints in the middle east may be occurring because someone else has disobeyed God's instructions to protect them.

Perhaps the key here is to love all people as Christ does and desire their salvation. And to be able to hear God's voice thereby obeying His instructions. I am reminded of David Wilkerson's ministry in New York when he reached out to dangerous gang members -- David listened to God and plundered darkness for the glory of our Lord. David overcame evil by doing good! David went to this ministry motivated by love. But, we can not truly love our enemies until the old sin nature in us is dead -- And Christ is manifest in us.

 2014/8/7 16:17Profile

 Re: And What of Just War?

Brethren I appreciate the feedback from your posts. And must say I am pleasantly surprised. For I thought some in the forum would take the opposite approach.

So is we are to take the command of Jesus to love our enemies. Then why do evangelicals push for temporal war?

How can Christians claim to love their enemies and yet support for American fire power in places like Afghanistan?

For that matter how could the church have entered into the notion of supporting the taking up the sword to vanquish her enemies?


 2014/8/8 12:19

Joined: 2008/1/3
Posts: 189


An excellent follow-up question, though it opens another discussion that has been debated here before.

I am an advocate of Christian non-violence or pacifism. Loving our enemies means not killing them. Wars send scores of people into eternity unprepared and God desires that all people repent and come to the knowledge of Him. One of the official reasons Rome persecuted early Christians was because they refused to serve in the military.

In addition, if someone breaks into my house and kills me, I go to heaven. If they break into my house and I kill them, they go to Hell. There is no question that they deserve it, but so did I. I have been forgiven and know mercy, and I want to be willing to lay down my life to give them a greater opportunity to receive that mercy.

Though I am passionate about this view, I respect and honor those who serve in our military. I know God's grace is powerful and covers a multitude of sins, and we all most be obedient to our conscience. I minister alongside a number of former soldiers who reach out to the Muslims they once fought because while they were in Iraq and Afghanistan, God gave them a love for their enemies.


 2014/8/8 12:33Profile

 Re: And What of the Land Letter?

On October 3rd, 2002, five prominent evangelical leaders sent a letter to President George W Bush. In the letter these leaders outlined their support for a `ust war` preemptive invasion of Iraq.

The leaders are as follows.......

Richard Land
President of Ehics and Religious Comittee of the Southern Baptist Convention. (Presumably Richard Land originated the above letter that bears his name)

Chuck Colson
Founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries

Bill Bright
Founder of Campus Crusade for known as Cru.

James Kennedy
President of Coral Ridge Ministries

Carl D. Webster
President of the American Association of Christian Schools

(The above information is on Wickpedia)

My question is how can noted evangelical leaders as the men above want to share the love of Jesus Christ around the world, and yet support an invasion into a nation that was never our enemy.

As I post this the weight of what is occurring in Iraq to our brothers and sisters is our responsibility. At least the responsibility of the American church that supported Bush`s invasion of that nation.

Obviously something about loving your enemies got lost. And more like bid fire from heaven (remember shock and awe) was applied.

So what went wrong here?

In light of the Land Letter, did Jesus really mean for American Christians to love their enemies? And do we need to repent if supporting an invasion of a nation that was never our enemy.


 2014/8/8 12:49

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5677


Bear- if the US. has the power to rescue Christians in Iraq or Syria from terrorists who want to kill them should we do so?

Should police stop home invasions by thugs into Christian homes or just let them invade?

Better yet if someone is invading my home to harm my family should I even call 911 or let them have their way?


 2014/8/8 13:59Profile


Flameoffire as I read your thoughtful post I was reminded of the story of Jacob DeShaver. He was part of the Doolittle raid over Tokyo in WWII. His plane was shot down. He was a prisoner for the duration of the war.

DeShaver hated the Japanese. While in prison he read a Bible and became a Christian.

After returning home he studied at a mission school and returned to Japan to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to a people he once hated. His 30 years in Japan saw many Japanese come to the love of the Savior by DeShaver`s love for them.

One amazing thing about this story. The commander of the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor became a Christian. He and DeShaver who once were enemies, now brothers on Christ, spoke at many evangelistic rallies. Their testimonies inspired others to come to Christ.

Truly a testimony of the transforming power of Christ. The transforming power to make enemies become brothers.


 2014/8/8 15:03


TMK Jesus said in Mat.5:38-39

You have heard that it was said `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.` But I say to you do not resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Brother did Jesus mean that literally?


 2014/8/8 15:13

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