Trinity and the Love of Enemy
I think this could possibly be one of the most controversial topics in our society today: love your enemy. Love those who abuse you. Love the racist, the debt collector, the person who flipped you off today for no reason. Love the person that broke into your car last night. We are increasingly becoming a “do what’s best for you” society. Part of that can be a positive thing, because we have a brighter light that shines when we live out kingdom principles that are counter-cultural.
Luke 6:32-36 says (my paraphrase): “If you’re only loving those who are easy to love, the ones who are kind, friendly, effortless to get along with, and reciprocate well, you look just like the world. Everyone can love a nice person. If you’re helping those who can help you back, how is that living into an upside-down kingdom value? Even my unbelieving neighbor helps people out, regularly! But this is counter-cultural: helping people out who ‘don’t deserve it.’ Those who have treated you poorly or acted foolishly, God’s mercy reaches out towards THOSE. That is kingdom movement. When you lend someone twenty bucks for gas money, don’t ask for it back. When you buy someone’s lunch, do so without expectation of reciprocation. God, high above us, makes consistent movements of love and mercy towards those who are evil.”
Why do we do this? Why waste our time loving those who will not value it? When we love those who seem “impossible” to love, we mirror the Triune God’s hand reaching down for all of us equally.
“We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (Romans 5:7-8, MSG)
It seems as if everything we’ve been given through Christ is meant to be shared. The Father’s love flows to and through Jesus, and the love they share is then poured out in us by the Spirit. This love is meant to flow through us. Even the biggest reservoirs needs an outflow channel. We’re not given God’s selfless, unmerited love to simply hold onto, but to also give it away. Especially towards those who don’t seem like they deserve it. That’s one of the amazing ways the kingdom breaks into the darkness of our world.
When my family first moved to Colorado Springs in 2000, we moved in next to the literal “neighbor from hell.” They just seriously hated us for no reason. Maybe we disrupted their peace (I do have 7 siblings). Within the two years we lived at this house in Colorado Springs, they had called about a dozen local authorities on us trying to get us into trouble in some way. And they posted a sign in their backyard (easily seen through the chain link fence) with profanity on it pointed towards us. As a family, we never did anything to retaliate, but we did notice the woman who lived there become severely sick for a long period of time, and we left “get well” gifts on her doorstep that were returned… There is no way of knowing what kind of difference those unordinary movements of love made, but we were faithful and obedient. And that is all that God asked.
May we seek to love the unlovable, live counter-culturally, sacrificially, and selflessly towards those identified as “enemies,” living as intimations of the already-but-not-yet Kingdom.