I wanted to find a way to personify the teaching of Jesus to “love your enemy.” This, like so many of his teachings, can seem abstract. In fact, we had a long discussion with the books’ publisher as they wanted to put the word “enemy” in the subtitle – like that, in quotations. I fought for it to NOT be in quotes. I don’t want us to think of loving our “enemies” as if Jesus meant they were theoretical. I think we must assume that he meant that we should love our actual (real) enemies.
But what about loving enemies of the state? The Bin Laden variety? Are we called to love those types? The Hamas? Al Qaeda? Most would say “no.” I say, “Why not?” As far as I can tell, Jesus didn’t qualify who the enemy was.
So…we went to some actual enemies of America. And by simply showing up, we gave them respect. Honor. Love. We found a handful of enemies, and we loved them. Did it “work?” Who knows. It went well. We made some friends. We shared some of the good news with them. We probably broke down some barriers and opened a few minds (ours and theirs). But the “working” part is in God’s hands anyway.
But we did follow Jesus a bit more closely as we tried our best to live out a command that he gave us. And in that, we found life!