Certain topics make my blood boil. Abortionists who kill helpless children are doing unspeakable evil, and I want to see them stopped. I remember how I felt when I first saw images of Muslim extremists rejoicing over the bombing of the World Trade Center, and more recently the beheading of Christians in Syria. I’ve seen the pile of shoes from Auschwitz at the Holocaust Museum. Now those are enemies who need to be stopped!
But it’s a little harder to explain my reaction toward people who make fun of creation. My teeth still clench, my throat tightens, and dark thoughts well up out of nowhere. Every time I react this way, I have to check myself. Does belief in evolution really make someone my enemy?
Really Our Enemies?
My gut reaction is, “Of course not.” “People aren’t our enemy, Satan is,” as the saying goes. “We need to avoid labels!” If only it were that easy.
Christ uses pretty strong language to
describe anyone who opposes Him and
His Word: “
He who is not with Me is
against Me, and he who does not gather
with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30). In fact, we are all God’s enemies
at some time (Romans 5:10). I was once
God’s enemy, and so were you (Colossians 1:21). We don’t resolve the problem
by downplaying its seriousness.
But that doesn’t justify the other extreme. Calling people fools and despising them takes us down a path that makes us the murderers (Matthew 5:21–22). We need to solve the problem God’s way. God loves His enemies, and Jesus told His disciples to do the same (Matthew 5:44). Christ set the example. He called us enemies, but unlike earthly kings, He went out and died for us (Romans 5:10).
So all our enemies, even at their worst, are human beings, made in God’s image and worthy of our deepest love. It doesn’t matter whether they are family or strangers. Our goal should never be to crush them but to woo them by words and example. Just as I’m heartbroken over a wayward son or hateful father, I should be moved to pray for strangers as well, that God will shine His light in their hearts.
I remind myself regularly that every person I talk to could join Christ’s kingdom at any moment. God has been patiently working on them their whole life, just as He worked on me before I was saved. You never know when the light may turn on. If you’d met me days before I embraced creation and Christ in college, you’d never believe I would become the editor of Answers magazine!
Thankfully, God never gave up on me. He loved me despite my mockery of Christianity. Indeed, our unnatural love for enemies, which can arise only from the Holy Spirit, is just one more tool God uses to open hearts.
What does this look like in practice?
The Bible does not spell out the details
of how we “
speak the truth in love.” But
it gives the main principles and hundreds
of examples. Sons of thunder who
want to call down fire from heaven can
be transformed into apostles of love.