Love Your Enemies

Christ commands us to love our enemies.  But if an enemy is someone that we hate or do not like, can we love those that we hate?  Clearly the answer is no.  Then what does Christ mean here?  I answer that ‘enemy’ must be construed as a one-way relationship, not a two way relationship:  an enemy is someone who wishes harm to us; we do not have to wish ill-will toward our enemies for them to be our enemies.

My little analysis of the word ‘enemy’ is deceptively simple.  I heard these words, “Love your enemy” for years before taking the time to critically reflect on what ‘enemy’ meant.  However, upon examination the meaning of the word is clear.   I have no data to back this point up, but I think many people are unreflective enough about how they use the word that they may unconsciously understand the hatred-relationship as being two-way unless the meaning of the word is brought to their attention (as I did for many years).  It wouldn’t be the first time that speakers use words without reflecting on what they mean.

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