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Things You Do Not Do When Loving Your Enemy

Updated on April 22, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

The Bible tells us

To return good for evil, love our enemies and pray for them. But these instructions seem to be very broad, allowing for just about any behavior to be used when loving our enemies.

In light of so many wars, invasions, underhanded treatment and more that are carried on today, it would be wise to compose a list of things that one should not do if they want to treat their enemies as Christ would want.

Things you do not do when loving your enemy

These instructions are in no particular order:

l Undermine your country’s laws

l Allow them to break the law

l Starve them

l Deny them water

l Deny them justice

l Allow them to threaten your fellow citizens

l Make your fellow citizens vulnerable to harm

l Deny them the truth

l Allow them to violate God’s laws

l Violate God’s laws in helping them

l Put their rights ahead of your fellow citizens’ rights

l Break the law

l After breaking the law letting them go free

l Leave yourself or your country defenseless

l Withhold healing

l Withhold medication, etc.

l Do not let them hold elective office

l And so on

Instructions from the Bible

The Bible gives us good instructions on how to treat our enemies and you will find that many of the verses telling us how to be=have towards others do not have escape clauses.

They do not say “do unto others as you would want to be treated, save for your enemies” Believers are expected to treat all people as Christ treated everyone, including his enemies

Here are a couple of verses to help guide you as you deal with the enemies in your portion of the world.

Luke 6:35

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Proverbs 16:7

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

What about aiding and abetting the enemy

I am not talking about helping someone commit criminal acts. Helping an enemy commit a crime does make you guilty of that crime and it makes you guilty of violating God’s laws.

You cannot sin when loving your enemy. The ends justify the means mentality does not apply to God’s way of doing things. Both God and Jesus have made it a point to not give permission to anyone to sin. Even when loving your enemy.

If you sin while helping your enemy then you are not helping them and certainly not doing yourself any favors either. As Paul said, grace does not exist to allow us to sin (Rom. 6:1-2 NASB).

We cannot sin when loving our enemies, returning good for evil or praying for them. We must abide by God’s rules in all of our activities.

In the uniform code of military justice, 904. Article 104. Aiding the enemy it says:

(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or

(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or [protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly;

There are generic words here that would put a Christian in violation of this statute but no true christian would think of helping the enemy in the manner addressed by the more specific terms.

A true Christian would not help the enemy of their country overthrow their nation. Peter and John’s words ‘We obey God rather than men’ would not apply in those cases. God does not advocate at any time that the believer overthrow or help others to overthrow their legitimate rulers/government.

But when an enemy is hungry, thirsty, injured, then we must obey God over man’s rules and tend to their needs. Jesus did not attack his enemies, he did not respond in kind and he endured the treatment he was given without complaint.

It is not an easy behavior to adopt yet the Christian must.

In the case of illegal immigration

It is not loving your enemy by allowing illegal immigrants to enter the country and support their illegal acts. If you find illegal immigrants who are hungry, thirsty a=or injured, you can tend to them and then you must return them to their homeland or turn them over to the authorities.

Immigration laws are not against God’s laws. Christians and non-believers cannot point to Mary and Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt as permission to ignore a nation’s immigration laws. Joseph was known as a righteous man, so he would follow the law of that time.

Mary found favor with God and it is highly unlikely that she would suddenly turn to sin, to protect her divine son. And if they violated ancient immigration laws then Jesus may have been corrupted and disqualified as our savior.

Some final words

Loving our enemies is not done as some would assume or expect. God’s ways are higher than ours, thus we must not drag God and his word down to our finite and corrupt level.

We must allow God to lift us up to his level and ways, whereby we remain holy in handling the love your enemy instruction. The same goes for illegal immigration. We do not follow corrupt leaders who omit the word illegal from their dialogue and distort the issue.

We stick to the truth and call an illegal and illegal. Then we deal with them justly, according to the law of the land. We do not disobey the law unless God’s instructions are going to be violated if we do so.

In the end, we are not following the ungodly in these issue but bringing glory to God through obedience to his word. We follow what God wants us to do not what a politician demands.


© 2019 David Thiessen


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