Posted Feb 08, 2020 by Michael L. Brown

Jesus taught it. Paul reaffirmed it. And neither of them said their teaching was optional for Christians. Instead, God Himself commands us, His children, to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us.

No one said it would be easy. No one even said it would be possible, without divine help. But, without any question, the call to love our enemies is a divine command, not a human suggestion.

In the words of Jesus, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43–48).

In the words of Paul, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:14, 17–21).

To be sure, this is not talking about how our country’s military should respond to a foreign invader. Nor is it telling a husband and father what to do if a serial killer breaks into his home, intent on killing his wife and children.

These teachings refer to our interpersonal relationships. To our attitudes. To our responses.

Will we bless those who curse us, or will we curse them back? Will we love those who hate us, or will we hate them back? Will we overcome evil, or will we be overcome by evil?

There are certainly times for making a spirited defense of one’s position, especially for the cause of righteousness. And there are certainly times when evil must be publicly and plainly rebuked.

But you can rebuke someone while having great love for them at the same time.

You can even want justice to be done while having great love for the criminal justly sentenced for his crime.

In short, the command to love our enemies does not call on us to compromise our ethics. It calls on us to take our ethics to a higher level, hating evil to the point that we refuse to be corrupted by it.

At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, “Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and president of a conservative think tank, had decried a ‘crisis of contempt and polarization’ and urged his listeners to ‘love your enemies.’”

In response, President Trump remarked, “I don't know if I agree with you,” adding, “I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.” And, the president continued, “Nor do I like people who say, 'I pray for you' when you know that is not so.”

On the one hand, I commend Trump’s honesty.

He openly questioned what Prof. Brooks had said rather than put on a religious show. And he openly admitted his struggles at the end of his talk, saying, “I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm trying to learn. It's not easy. When they impeach you for nothing and then you're supposed to like them, it's not easy folks. I do my best.”

But this is where the rubber meets the road. It is not easy to love people whom you think have wronged you. To the contrary, it is totally unnatural to love them. “Lord, You’re telling me I’m supposed to love them?”

Jesus would reply with an emphatic Yes. In fact, He would say, “That’s exactly what I did. I died for My enemies. I forgave My enemies. I blessed My enemies.”

And in doing so, He set an example for each of us. As Peter taught, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Yes, Jesus left us an example to follow, showing us the redemptive power of all-consuming love. It turns your enemies into your most loyal friends!

This has nothing to do with liking those who hurt you or attack you. Liking has to do with personal preferences. Loving has to do with truly desiring what is best for others. And true love will make personal sacrifices for the well-being of others, even of one’s enemies.

As noted by H. S. Vigeveno in his book Jesus the Revolutionary, “Our world has witnessed many a revolution, but none as effective as the one that divided history into B.C. and A.D. Every revolution involves the shedding of blood. So did this one. Not as much blood, perhaps, but the quality of the One far outweighs the quantity of others. Revolutionary, indeed, this mission, to begin with a cross and sway the whole world through suffering love. Revolutionary to build a Church on the sacrifice that offers man forgiveness and atonement with God.”

How remarkable. That is the power of the cross.

Not surprisingly, shortly after the Prayer Breakfast, President Trump was on the warpath, lashing out at those who sought to remove him from office. And I can understand his attitudes and his actions.

After all, from his perspective, he has been the victim of unjust attacks for more than three straight years. This includes the constant vilification of the leftwing media. The unrelenting, often vicious mockery of Hollywood celebrities. The wiretapping of his campaign. The unjust attempts to remove him from office with the Mueller investigation and the impeachment trial. And more.

Yes, from a human perspective it is totally understandable that he not only took a victory lap – who can blame him for that? – but that he went on the attack as well, pulling no punches.

But just think of how transformative it would have been had he said, “I hate the fact that the country is so divided, and I understand I have been a big part of that division. But today, I choose not to retaliate. It’s true that I have been acquitted, and I believe that justice has been done. But I choose to forgive those who sought to remove me from office. And I call on my political enemies and my enemies in the media to work together for the good of our country. I will lead the way.”

If others want to stew in their hatred, let them. We will step higher.

My Stream colleague Al Perrotta put it so well just a few days back, making this brilliant appeal to the president:

“The builder in you knows how this works. Like you did with the Old Post Office Building across from the White House, you’ve done the demo, now comes the beautiful remodel.

“You’ve got the economic heart of America pounding hard. Now turn to nurturing America’s soul.

“You’ve shown us the bloody, unbowed street fighter. Show us the ‘better angels of our nature.’

“Today, in this hour of political victory, show us the greatest victory is to love one another.

“May the grace and wisdom of God guide you.

“Yours truly,

“Someone Deplorable.”

Unfortunately, President Trump missed the first opportunity to do this in the aftermath of his acquittal. And many of us who voted for him have missed our opportunity as well, feeling nothing but loathing for the Democrats and their ilk. (I should also mention the Christians who show no love for the president and his allies. They, too, have chosen hatred over love.)

The good news is that today is a new day.

All of us can step higher. All of us can seek to heal rather than destroy. And all of us, without compromising our convictions or violating our ethics one iota, can choose to love our enemies, with the help of the Lord.

Will we?

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A._catholic posted a comment · Feb 14, 2020
Pres. Trump is "honest" according to you? He says that he doesn't like someone who says they are praying for him, when he "knows" they aren't (presumably Rep. Pelosi). So when did Pres. Trump get the ability to read souls? How does he "know" this? And he dislikes it when people impeach (investigate) him for "nothing". There were more than enough reasons to investigate him (impeach him). He was not exonerated of obstruction of justice by the Mueller Report; he tells witnesses to not honor legally valid subpoenas- really. Why would you tell witnesses who could exonerate you, to not testify, unless you were afraid that their testimony would convict you? Pres. Trump believes the only law he is beholden to = is himself. https://www.needtoimpeach.com/impeachable-offenses/
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words2yz posted a comment · Feb 14, 2020
TRUMP mocks, scorns , and bullies anyone who dares disagree with his views. His views are entirely self- centered and self-serving. He only reveres himself and serves only Mammon ‼️
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words2yz posted a comment · Feb 14, 2020
TRUMP mocks, scorns , and bullies anyone who dares disagree with his views. His views are entirely self- centered and self-serving. He only reveres himself and serves only Mammon ‼️
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 11, 2020
'All of us can step higher. All of us can seek to heal rather than destroy. And all of us, without compromising our convictions or violating our ethics one iota, can choose to love our enemies, with the help of the Lord." Will we? (dr.brown)
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Oreopagus posted a comment · Feb 11, 2020
First he came for @comey... https://twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/1226511619267743747 Articles by Benjamin Wittes https://www.theatlantic.com/author/benjamin-wittes/
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
What if He wins ! You’ll have to love your enemy! ;-(
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
What if He wins ! You’ll have to love your enemy! ;-(
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
Some context please ! Please I’m starting to dose ! And it’s not Yentl on the radio I want to hear ! Stop looking in the projection Mirror troll
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
Some context please ! Please I’m starting to dose ! And it’s not Yentl on the radio I want to hear ! Stop looking in the projection Mirror troll
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Oreopagus posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
Once Trump is out of office, his projection behavior will be the subject of a mountain of books, articles, academic papers, plus talks and interviews by psychologists and psychiatrists. Actually, there is a film currently in post-production, titled #UNFIT www.unfitfilm.com Projection is seeing something in others that lies in ourselves: Remarks by President Trump to the Nation (Feb. 6, 2020) https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-nation/ "I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people." "So I’ve always said they’re lousy politicians, but they do two things: They are vicious and mean. Vicious. These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago. When she said, “I pray for the President. I pray for the…” — she doesn’t pray. She may pray, but she prays for the opposite. (Laughter.) But I doubt she prays at all." Mad Man Trump has PDS—Projection Derangement Syndrome https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/3/12/1841456/-Mad-Man-Trump-has-PDS-Projection-Derangement-Syndrome The Projector in Chief https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/freud-lives/201807/the-projector-in-chief The Projection President https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/the-success-of-smoke-and-mirrors/533706/ See also: Duty To Warn www.adutytowarn.org
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Oreopagus posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
“During a recent road trip, we were listening to the news on the radio. The 'breaking reports’ of ranting Tweets were making my head spin. I thought to myself, ‘How do people who constantly lie, sleep at night?’ So, we switched to a pop station that was playing a song with a hypnotic beat. As I looked off into the distance, this song title and lyrics came too me.” — Barbra Streisand; Don’t Lie to Me (2018) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNrj87Q-4Yk
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
Me thinks your all throwing tantrums because God didn't check with you first and all non- evangelicals - ex·e·ge·sis /ˌeksəˈjēsis/ Learn to pronounce noun critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture. "the task of biblical exegesis" Try asking God what He's doing!
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
Most of the antagonist who post here are void of a rational recognition that God can use the likes of a Donald John Trump to confound a nation He has turned things upside down that includes the way political leaders operate, who have operated while hidden behind a veiled agenda for generations. Trump is not afraid of them and for all his faults he continues to do what he campaigned on! If God wants the swamp drained then-drain the swamp! when I read most of what is said on here, It is becoming troll-like robo trolls
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
"People see dimly, can’t see the forest for the trees, blinded by bias, people of faith need to stop all the bleating like sheep and pray! Pray for our leaders, Pray for our nation! Pray that killing babies STOPS ! Jesus we call on your name ! Clay Jones is a hater! on all levels.
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Oreopagus posted a comment · Feb 10, 2020
The Republican God http://claytoonz.com/2020/02/09/the-republican-god/ https://twitter.com/claytoonz/status/1226691624027246592
B.W. posted a comment · Feb 09, 2020
“Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Pray for our Nation! Stop killing baby’s!
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Latinuproar posted a comment · Feb 08, 2020
Sorry. Forget my question. In your article you said from his perspective. Forgive me for overlooking that criticle part in your article.
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Latinuproar posted a comment · Feb 08, 2020
One question Dr Brown if you can please answer? You said "The unjust attempts to remove him from office with the Mueller investigation and the impeachment trial." How was it unjust to have the impeachment trial considering Trumps quid pro quo?
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Oreopagus posted a comment · Feb 08, 2020
(Video) Lawrence: Prayer breakfast rant shows Trump doesn't understand what love is https://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/lawrence-prayer-breakfast-rant-shows-trump-doesn-t-understand-what-love-is-78283333517
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Kenneth Greifer posted a comment · Feb 08, 2020
I am amazed that Dr. Brown has turned his religious organization into a political/religious organization. By promoting and defending Trump as much as his religious beliefs, he is turning people against his religion and making himself less effective, which is a good thing actually. Trump is not a victim of persecution. He was investigated by Mueller because his campaign people were meeting with many Russian agents. That is normal. If you meet with suspected terrorists, mobsters, drug smugglers, or drug dealers, etc., the FBI will investigate you too. They have to. Even if you are innocent. Saying that the Mueller investigation was "unjust" is unbelievable. Dr. Brown, you should stick to discussing the Bible because you don't understand why the FBI had to investigate Trump's campaign. You are not an expert in law enforcement or counter-espionage tactics. It is unfair for you to judge the FBI when you don't know what the reality is when it comes to Russia's attempts to influence our society by helping candidates get elected or whatever else they do. Do you like it when average people say you are wrong about the Bible, when they are barely educated in the subject? That is what you are like when you say the Mueller investigation was unjust. All Trump had to do was cooperate. Instead, he went crazy and started screaming "witch hunt." He also tried to interfere with the investigation. He made a mountain out of a molehill. They would have investigated and found nothing serious, but he obstructed justice unnecessarily. He always finds a way of making things worse by overreacting to every thing.
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Kenneth Greifer posted a comment · Feb 08, 2020
So many religious people who support Trump because he is against abortion are telling their kids how great Trump is. He is a role model, and his way of talking and acting are going to affect the kids who are aware of how he acts. Don't be surprised if these kids grow up to be proud, angry, vengeful, dishonest, greedy, lawless, and vulgar because they will be copying a great man, according to their parents. He is more exciting and successful than their parents, so they will be more impressed with him than the boring, humble, honest, law-abiding people. You can't have it both ways. You can't say someone you think is bad is good and expect kids to understand. These people are choosing a man who is not a good role model to be the president and a role model for their kids. Trump's anger and revenge against his enemies has been obvious for years. He is not attempting to control it or reduce it. This article makes it sound like Trump is trying or has tried to love his enemies, but he never has and he probably never will. At least be honest to yourself that Trump is not following the teachings of your religion. I am not saying I agree that you should love your enemies. That is not my religious belief, but it is also not Trump's religious belief.