"Should we love those who hate us?" That is the question I posed to one of my classes recently. The answer is a resounding "Yes!" because this is what Jesus taught and lived himself as an example for us. But what if the question concerned someone who seemingly was unlovable, someone like Osama bin Laden? It's not so easy to answer now, is it? Yet, according to Jesus, the answer again would be "Yes."
It is easy to love those who in turn love us. That is what the rest of the world does. But Jesus called us to be different from the rest of the world -- to be set apart. One way we can be set apart is to love those who demonstrate hatred toward us. Hatred toward Christians can often come from atheists, skeptics, those with no interest in religion, and those from other belief systems, including Islam. In fact many Muslims worldwide have learned a hatred for both Christians and Jews based upon certain verses of the Qur'an.
Sura 5:51 instructs Muslims not to take a Jew or a Christian as a friend at the risk of becoming one of them and incurring Allah's wrath.
So although Muslims may hate Christians (and not all do, there are many kind, considerate Muslims also), we are to love them in return regardless. Jesus said in Luke 6:32, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." True disciples of Jesus are known by their love. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" said Jesus in John 13:34.
Sadly, I have heard some within the church suggest an attitude of vengeful hatred and contempt for Muslims, even going so far as saying, "We should just nuke all of them and let God sort it out." Those suggesting anything akin to this bring shame to the title of Christian.
I want to share with you an article that was published recently in the magazine Mission Frontiers. The article is titled "Loving Bin Laden." A link to the article can be found below. Note the following quotes from the article, just to get your interest.
"Yeah, I know that Jesus said to love our enemies but... I mean, you're not suggesting that... well, you know, we should, like, love Osama bin Laden, are you?"
It's one thing to ask Western Christians to follow Jesus and point out that one of the things he clearly said, and taught, was to love our enemies. It's another thing altogether to make that teaching specific with an actual enemy. Like Bin Laden.
The question is a good one: what do we do with our actual, physical enemies (rather than our theoretical enemies), people who might want to kill us if they had the chance? We're not talking about an ideology or a religion, but a real person, like Bin Laden. What do we do with Bin Laden?
Download and read the complete article here.