…and they want to kill you?

Several times over the years, I’ve been in sticky situations. In jail in Saudi. In Jail in Lebanon (twice). Taken at gunpoint in Iraq. Threatened with a gun in south Lebanon. Kicked out of Lebanon twice. Had our van windows broken out by an angry mob – when we were in the car. My wife has been spit on and cursed at. We know what it feels like to have an enemy want to hurt us.

I remember when I was asked to speak in a mosque in south Lebanon and someone had threatened my life if I came. Chris and I decided I should go anyway (that’s a story in itself).

When a friend found out, he said, “They want to kill you, and you’re going anyway?”

I’m sure he didn’t think we were too bright. (No comments now!):)

The question I’d love a little discussion on is this: What do you think Jesus actually meant when he told us to “love our enemy”? To “do good to them”? To “bless” and to “pray for them”? Was it creative hyperbole? Was he serious? Overstating? What about the enemies of a state? Were they actual literal physical enemies, or theoretical or hypothetical enemies?

That’s my question to you? What do we think Jesus meant for you and I to do with our enemies?


  1. Tom Page says:

    Hello Carl!

    That’s a good question. Well, Paul tells the Colossians that they were once alienated from God and were enemies in their minds … and they were reconciled through Christ’s physical body – his death – so they could be presented as holy.

    And he reminds the Romans that giving their enemies food and drink when they are hungry and thirsty will be like “heaping burning coals” on their heads.

    Sooo, maybe part of “loving our enemies” is being willing to die while serving them.

    Easy to recall the scripture; difficult to practice.

    1. NeoLibertarian says:

      I agree and I don’t think it means we are to bomb them.

  2. Tom Page says:

    Oh, and yes, I think he was serious.

  3. Livie says:

    Well, I think Jesus was telling us to move in the opposite spirit of what we normally do toward those who fight against us, hate us, and want to kill us. I think He meant to be shocking to His listeners.

    He wants us to stop our natural responses, wait, listen to the spirit and do what He wants us to do. It is the burden of God’s love that only Jesus can give us which will allow us to truly love our enemies. Asking Jesus the question, “How do you see my enemies?” has helped me. He has been faithful to then share how to love my enemies, not that I’ve always done it or liked it.

    Oh, and I believe it is possible to love and run, so I’m not ruling out being unwise in situations.

  4. Krissy says:

    I believe that Jesus meant exactly what he said, literally, because that is what he did.

    I have a much easier time praying for my theoretical enemies, like enemies of the state, because it’s not personal. I could totally see myself sitting down to dinner with Osama bin Laden or Ahmadinejad (cooking dinner for them, and then talking about Jesus!) because their hatred for me isn’t personal (although I guess it might become personal after they met me). Sitting down to dinner with someone who I consider a more personal enemy, like my husband’s ex-wife, for example, would be MUCH more difficult. But then, Jesus didn’t say it was supposed to be easy. He just said to do it.

  5. Maurice Ward says:

    If just for this topic we defined an enemy as “someone who is trying to kill us” then it makes me think of Judas and Jesus.
    I’m not sure I could keep someone as part of the group, send them out to minister, and trust them with the money like Jesus did with Judas!
    Is this what Jesus meant by “love your enemies”?
    If this is how Jesus loved a mortal enemy, how much more should we love people who just don’t like us?

  6. Sue says:

    I love to read the responses so here is mine…
    The FACT is we are created in HIS IMAGE…but DUST. We must walk BY FAITH+TRUTH as FOLLOWERS OF JESUS NOT FACT…BUT DUST!

  7. Richard says:

    I loved reading the comments above. so good. I think it is very literal, we need (and can) love our enemies. I’ve just done my seminary dissertation on loving our enemies after being in Afghanistan. Jesus says to pray for our enemies, the common teaching at the time was to pray for God’s vengeance, but Jesus tells us to pray for them to be blessed, therefore to know God, therefore to become our family. I kind of found that an ‘enemy’ was someone your honour group despised. so when we love our enemies we may be rejected or challenged by our piers because we’re challenging their opinions. (maybe countrymen, work colleagues, other christians, friends, even family), When we do this we ‘show’ the world that we don’t belong to their assumptions and opinions but to ‘our father in heaven’s’. we seek reconciliation, we love (even in the closed room), we do good to them beyond all limits, and through this we ‘show’ that we belong to God’s ‘family’ because we live according to his ‘way of life’. and that is a beautiful way. There is freedom in this, and wholeness. and ultimately peace. what do I think he meant? show them we belong to God’s family and ask them to join. can we do this on our own? no. can the spirit through us? well we can do all things through him that strengthens us. I was just thinking about the Judas thought above, can we really love our enemies, can we follow Jesus in this, unless we too seek to get to spend time with them…

  8. philippe Accad says:

    good morning Karl
    long time no hear from you
    say hi to the family

  9. Grandma Karin says:

    After my husband described a very difficult person he had to deal with at work (not really an enemy ….) I told him “You are kind to _____”. His reply was “Jesus has been so kind to me”.

    I wonder if loving my enemy can be easier if I remember the kindness of God to me. I ask Him to give me His love. I cannot manufacture it on my own.