We all have enemies who hate us to the core. There is not a single person who ever lived, who can claim to have been loved by everyone. Even the most successful celebrities in any field, supported and thronged by multitudes; can attest to having people who desire their death. Jesus lived a sinless life, but people hated Him, leading to His murder.
The fact that a person has a heart for other people is not a guarantee that he/she would be free from being hated by some people. At times the people we love most are the ones who turn out to be our worst enemies. Generally, enemies do not come from strangers, but from the closest of relatives.
The gift of marriage is one example that troubles humanity. Yet anticipated to alleviate the burdens of those concerned? People join in celebrations when couples engage in marriages, adorned in fanciful weddings. However, the majority of those marriages end in turmoil, leaving those involved to be hardcore enemies, one to the other.
Divorce processes are the opposite of marriage processes. There may be financial obligations attached to marriage processes, but with anticipations of joyfulness, experienced by the couples involved. Divorce processes also appear as relieving couples of consequences of discordant marriages. But that is where troubles of humanity manifest.
Divorce may appear as the best option to those having failed to deal with cause for divorce. The strange thing is that both parties would be to blame. To ordinary people, the other party may appear as responsible for terminating the marriage, where the other party would appear as innocent. But both parties equally share the blame for terminating the marriage?
I am aware that this is a bold statement that triggers fearsome disputation by those involved. This viewpoint could, actually be another cause for creating my own enemies? But, this is simply a fact, deduced from careful analysis of the significance of marriage. One of the most misunderstood passages of scripture is found in Matthew 19:1-12.
There are many people abusing that scripture, as validating divorce on reason of adultery, or sexual immorality. This is a result of improper translation by some English and other vernacular translations. But the original text implies nullifying marriage on reason of fornication, rather than adultery. Fornication refers to some sexual engagements before marriage.
What Jesus meant was that marrying someone having previously engaged in sex, as in fornication, yet failing to disclose details to the new partner, is tantamount to committing adultery. Traditionally, the process of solemnizing a marriage before a marriage officer is regarded as what seals the qualification of marriage. But that has got no Biblical basis.
God looks at it with a different standard: At the very moment that a man and woman engage in sex, they automatically become united, as to be one in marriage. Those people may not yet be prepared for marital responsibilities. But their sexual engagement commits them into a covenant that requires them to be separated only by death.
This is just as Paul was livid about the sexually immoral Corinthian Christians; showing them the futility of becoming one in flesh with prostitutes (1 Corinthians 6:16). The casual sexual intimacy, bestows those involved, with the responsibility of being united in marriage.
However, this is obviously different from instances like rape cases, or other reason; which ought to be evaluated appropriately, before validating the intended marriage. I recommend that the reader takes time to review the following two posts, with further details on this particular subject: [Divorce and the National Crisis].
The next post should also be appreciated as fully complimenting the other, in addressing marital problems that bedevil societies: [Seven keys for marital success]. While discussing issues to do with marital problems, these two articles, actually, portray reasons why enmity unnecessarily exists in societies.
Agreeably, societies may view as strange, people who hate their own spouses and children. This is just as it is viewed as strange for any person to hate his/her own parents, for whatever reason. But the hatred of one’s nuclear family is not different from ill-treating other fellow human beings.
God’s Kingdom reverses all causes of hatred in societies. At the beginning of this article we highlighted that it is not possible for any person to ever exist without having an enemy. While that reality is not according to God’s original purpose of creating humanity, it is necessary for qualification into God’s Kingdom [The only way through is going through]
Naturally, in the animal kingdom there is rivalry, over food or sex. But this was not the original arrangement for humanity. The current animal behavior that can also be observed with humanity, originates from another source, other than God who created humanity in His own image.
The animal behavior, portrayed in humanity is the one that caused the death of Jesus, who came to address such existent anomalies. The reason to hate another person may appear quite valid, but it is not from God.
There may justifiably be good reasons for hating another person, but that reason does not come from God. This is why God unconditionally loved us, even though many people, even today, still hate Him, while claiming to love Him (1 John 4:20).
One of my other previous posts highlights that the cause of enmity was first displayed by Cain who, after committing murder, declared not being his brother’s keeper [see here]. The interesting question to ask is; if Cain had not been his brother’s keeper, whose keeper was he responsible for?
In this world, Cain’s behavior can be viewed as very normal. Everyone considers only their nuclear family, as not to be bothered much about what happens to other families. I suppose, even Cain, though having murdered his brother; may have commendably had strong attachment to his nuclear family?
However, the children that Cain tenderly catered for, would simply duplicate his behavior; possibly also murdering their own siblings, as they would not have any reason to be their brothers’ keepers?
This has been the behavior of humanity, ever since. But those people, regarded as enemies, are brothers or sisters who need protection, just as their parents would have dearly loved them, desiring that they do well in life.
The great lesson drawn by Jesus on the parable of the Good Samaritan simply shows the significance of treating other people as true brothers. That behavior totally reverses Cain’s behavior, as bestowing responsibility that leaves no-one to be treated as a foreigner.
The Jews murdered Jesus, as they considered Him not to be one of their brothers. Of course Jesus was a foreigner, having come from another country, Heaven. To those Jews, murdering Jesus was as normal as Cain assumed that murdering Abel, his brother, was normal. This civilization insists that anyone who is not one of us should be labeled as foreigner, deserving to be treated disdainfully.
Jesus represented a seed with a different dimension in human relations. He instructed His followers to love their enemies. Those regarding Him as Lord would take the instruction verbatim. By the way, the responsibility of loving one’s enemies does not end there. Loving enemies includes the responsibility to pray for them, while also attending to their welfare (Matthew 6:38-48).
There can be no doubt that the majority of Christians are faithful in giving tithes. They may also be faithful to their spouses. They may as well be doing good things to their church-mates. Others may even attempt to obey Jesus’ instructions, by contributing to foreign missions and providing resources for the needy.
Such behavior can be highly commendable. But the starting point ought to be the application of the spiritual intent of what Jesus taught. For instance, a person may be able to do those commendable things, yet unable to sustain his/her apparently, hopeless marriage?
The person may also be known for being unkindly to those who work for him/her? Let alone his/her attitude towards the unacceptable extortionists and blatant sinners in his/her environment? The commandment to love; leaves no condition whatsoever. The standard is as was left by Jesus who did not wait for our repentance, before committing to die for us.
The moralistic utterances, repeated over and over again, in churches are not enough, as far as total transformation ought to be applied. It is the attitude that needs transformation, so that the person becomes a new creation that treats every other person as brother/sister, regardless of background. This is not as easy as considered by a people still hooked in current traditions.
Jesus does not require physical obedience. He needs spiritual commitment, without consideration of other people’s expectations. This is why, to the woman at the well, Jesus declared that those truly worshiping God were no longer those worshiping by appearance. God is now looking for those worshiping in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). [See here] and [here].
A true Christian no longer has enemies, imagined or real. He/she loves every other fellow human being as self. I am not discouraged at all; as I know that there are Christians, out there, practicing that kind of love. However, such Christians are despised and ridiculed, just as Jesus was also similarly treated.
Studying theology is not necessary, except when allowing the Spirit of Jesus to dwell in one’s life. The apostle Paul stated that it was no longer him who lived, but Christ that lived in him (Galatians 2:20). Christianity is the work of Christ, when allowed to operate freely in one’s life. [See “Revealing the Christ in Jesus].
The mystery in having a share in God’s Kingdom is facilitated by people said to be enemies. The worst enemy of Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot, served as the best friend of Jesus and humanity. Otherwise our salvation could not have been attained, without Judas Iscariot. This is why Christians are advised to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them.
Unless the mind of Christ occupies the individual, it is futile for one to call oneself Christian. This new behavior may sound as unattainable to most people, only because of the previously highlighted traditions with humanity. [See “Traditions and idolatry are synonymous”]
It is not possible to attain the goals of Christianity without enemies. But it is a question of what is done with those enemies. Christ declares: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:44) (ESV).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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