Of loving enemies, and the President’s words

We have heard many criticize the President for his allegedly insensitive remarks about his political enemies at the national prayer breakfast. It is important to keep things in context. What is the context of Christ’s exhortation of praying for your enemies? Christ consistently spoke about loving our neighbors as we would love ourselves; Praying for our enemies—yes a sincere prayer that they would know the Lord! But we are also supposed to stand against evil, just as his example in taking authority over the Pharisees and Sadducees. Love our enemies, because the greatest love is that they would know the Lord and have life everlasting.

Let’s look at the context in which the President was speaking. Trump pointed out his exact experience with these people. They present an image to the public of being so righteous, yet they speak hate and label others with hateful names. They say they pray for him, but it is obvious their prayers are for his demise. Pointing out hypocrisy and truth does not always equate to hating enemies. Trump conveyed his experience as he saw it. What did Christ do in revealing the very judgmental and hypocritical Pharisees? He called them white-washed sepulchers. He told them that they were of their father the devil and that they lied like their father. We may not necessarily agree with how Trump communicates his message (I myself have many issues with this), but he definitely was telling the truth.

Let’s now look at the overall context. The people Trump was speaking of are not lovers of God as they claim. We see it in their actions and deeds, as well as their words. They stand for ungodliness, they support the enemies of Israel (also the traditional enemies of God), and they seek to enrich themselves through the tearing down of or exercising tyranny over others in word, deed, and policy. So what are we to say? Is Trump justified? Most likely yes. Is his way of saying it eloquently presented or presidential? Not always. But in the end, it is truth. This is why believers can support this flawed man over the eminent evil we see in those who oppose Trump, oppose us, and most importantly, oppose the God we serve.

We have countless examples in the New Testament letters about overcoming evil with good, holding accountability, and having done all, stand. AND we have countless examples that believers should treat others as we would want to be treated. It’s both pointing out truth in love AND holding accountability where possible. We are to love our enemies because, as Christ said in the very same teaching (Matthew 5:48) “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This is our goal to be like our Father in heaven. He loved us unto salvation. It’s easy to hate your enemies, much harder to love them. Loving our enemies means to see them as humans who need God’s love. It doesn’t mean we appreciate what they do or condone it. And there are times their deeds need to be exposed.

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Bill Wilson