Loving Our Enemies While We Fight Against Them
by Stuart DiNenno
All Christians recognize, at least to some extent, that we have many enemies who are destroying Christian morality, the Christian Church, and Western Civilization, and that they have been doing so for many years, but I believe that many of those same Christians do not understand how we can fight against these enemies and at the same time be obedient to the words of Christ when He said “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) and “as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
First of all, it should be obvious that “love your enemies” requires the recognition that they are enemies. It does not mean “pretend that your enemies are your friends.” So we must first face up to the reality of their adversarial relationship with us and not be pollyannas who look at them through rose-colored glasses. For example, the Jews are anti-Christs and so they are the enemies of Christians, and until they repent of their rebellion and clearly display the fruits of their repentance, they must be recognized as such, and we would be foolish to overlook their opposition and look upon them as our friends.
How do we love those who are trying to destroy us? We love them in the same way that we love disobedient children. We do not pretend that the disobedient child is a good child; we do not pretend that his disobedience is not happening; and we do not pretend that he is our equal. We love him by standing against his evil and correcting him of it, even if it means that we have to inflict pain on him in doing so.
What if they will not be corrected and they continue in their crimes? If this is the case, then we have to love them by forcibly stopping them from doing evil, even if it means taking their lives. How can we take the lives of others and still love them? The only way we can manifest our love for such people is to at least prevent them from doing further evil and thereby bringing further condemnation upon themselves, and in so doing we are loving our neighbors by protecting them from the evildoers.
As for the principle of “as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise,” in the case of our enemies it means to treat them as we, from a Christian perspective, should expect to be treated if we were the Christ-haters that they are and we were doing the evil that they are doing. It does not mean to pretend that they are something other than what they are, or pretend that they are doing something other than what they are doing, it does not mean to treat them as they desire to be treated, and it does not mean to regard anti-Christs as if they are obedient Christians. Returning to the example of the Jews, we know that they have been doing many things to destroy morality, the church, and our civilization, and because of this we should expect them to be dealt with severely for their behavior in the same way that we would expect to be dealt with severely if we were engaging in the same behavior.
We do not have any obligation to treat the Jews, or any other anti-Christs, as we would treat our fellow Christians. On the contrary, we have the obligation to treat them as the enemies they are but according to biblical principles, and those biblical principles do not require us to be tolerant of their evil but only to deal with their evil justly according to God’s law. If we fail to do so, then we are failing to love God because we are not being obedient to His law and His requirements for justice, we are failing to love our neighbors because we are allowing evil to go unhindered in our societies thereby causing it to proliferate, and we are failing to love our enemies by not putting a stop to their evildoing and not requiring that they instead follow the path of righteousness and justice.