Love your enemies, unless they are your political enemies.
Love your enemies, unless they are a famous person who said something offensive.
Love your enemies, unless they are racist, bigoted, or homophobic.
Love your enemies, unless you’re posting online.
Love your enemies, unless you’d rather call them names.
Love your enemies, unless you’re just fed up.
Love your enemies, unless they are a blowhard on the TV or radio.
Love your enemies, unless you’ve got something really clever to say.
Love your enemies, unless they are fundamentalists.
Love your enemies, unless they are Evangelicals.
Love your enemies, unless they don’t love you back.
We have so many excuses not to do what Jesus told his followers to do. It’s quite simple but also tremendously difficult. Love your enemies.
Without excuse or qualification. Without equivocation or minimizing. Without sarcasm or self-importance.
Just love the people who oppress you, oppose you, hurt you, and annoy you. Love the people who are your enemies by chance or birthright or ideology. Love the people who have made themselves your enemies through their choices. Love the people that you have marginalized or dismissed through your own choice. It doesn’t matter why they are your enemy. Just love them.
Love them by trying to understand their story. Love them by refusing to project bad motives upon them. Love them by practicing suspended judgement. Love them by refusing to dehumanize them through demonization. Love them by refusing to call them names. Love them by being kind even while you are disagreeing. Love them by praying for them. Sincerely praying for them.
But don’t expect it to be easy.
They might misunderstand. If they notice at all. They might read your love as self-righteousness and use it as an excuse to heap more insults upon you. They might take advantage of your love. They might not love you back. But keep on loving them.
But don’t confuse love with good boundaries. Love is not weakness. Love is not being wishy-washy. Love is emotionally and spiritually healthy. So be clear and be strong.
And also be kind. Because your enemy is probably acting out of his or her weakness or hurt. There is a reason they can be so judgmental or abusive or difficult. You’ve been in that boat before, haven’t you? You’ve lashed out in anger. You’ve probably gone too far at times. You’ve been surprised by your own vitriol, only to realize later that it was coming from a place of deep pain.
Imagine what it would have been like if someone understood that pain you felt. Imagine how that might have made a difference.
Without agenda. Without strings. Without condition.
There is no “unless.” Love you enemies.