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Christians: What does it mean to "love your enemy?"


I was not brought up as a Christian, so I ask what it means to you.

How should it be practiced toward the Boston Marathon Bombers?

For those of us here who are so deep into hatred and fear and disgust and remorse and depression and anger over our Government, what does this mean? And equally important, how can we put it into practice?

Thank you.

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What is Christianity but a collection of those who proclaim the most radical act of forgiveness in human history? Jesus Christ’s self-sacrificial death on behalf of a sin-tattered world is an incredible act of love by God. Radical forgiveness. For all people. Not just those of a certain ethnicity. Or for only the “really good” ones.

Such radical love and forgiveness should permeate the lives of Christians.

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:12-13 NLT

On 9/11 a ruthless attack was carried out and precious lives prematurely ended. Unfortunately forgiveness was far from the minds of most Christians. Most were swept up in a cultural and ideological frenzy steeped in religious hatred and revenge. This is the natural tendency of a fallen and sinful human nature.

As we again confront terror at home we can reflect. Was this a Christ-like response? What has the outcome been of this action? What would a Christian response to terrorism look like?

It is never too late to repent and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. Forgiving others, especially when they have committed egregious wrongs is very difficult to do. Yet, it is the radical forgiveness of Christ that has the ability to break the cycle of violence and lead to healing and peace.

Death Penalty

"And these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be slain at the mouth of witnesses; but one witness shall not testify against any person that he die." Numbers 35:29-30

I forgot to mention Numbers 35 in my first comment, so let me repeat myself.

By law, IF there are 2 or 3 witnesses and they can withstand scrutiny, the penalty is public execution by the hand of those witnesses first, and the people second.

Further laws requiring the death penalty are found at Exodus 21:12-14 and Deuteronomy 19:1-13. Laws concerning false witnesses and cross examination are found at Deuteronomy 19:15-21. Laws concerning the method of execution are found at Deuteronomy 17:6-7.

We call this "due process" or "fair trial"(Numbers 35:12)

"And the cities shall be unto you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation for judgment." Numbers 35:12

"But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the border of his city of refuge, whither he fleeth; and the avenger of blood find him without the border of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood slay the manslayer; there shall be no bloodguiltiness for him;" Numbers 35:26-27

"Moreover ye shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer, that is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death." Numbers 35:31

"So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood, it polluteth the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it." Numbers 35:33

not sure what is your point here

I think the implementation of death penalty under the civil authority is Biblical. It is to safeguard the sanctity of human life. However, the Church, as instituted by God, does not concern itself with earthly civil authorities. Hence, love your enemies and pray for the ones who persecute you, does not conflict with the civil authorities executing death penalties.

Also for Christians "you will know the truth..."

To know the real enemy, for Christians "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". It is more important not to punish the innocent.

it means

too feel sorry for the way your enemy has ended up in battle against you and for whatever reason he was deceived into fighting you.
then, after defeating your opponent, grant him the combatant's courtesy.

basically, don't treat it like an animal when doing battle.




Tweeting occasionally as himself @cudnoski on the twitter.



Tweeting occasionally as himself @cudnoski on the twitter.

To me the important

To me the important sentiment of that statement means, not stooping to their level after you have been wronged...SOOO many people want to kill this Boston bomber suspect right now... somehow the TV convinced them of his guilt and they don't even question...all I hear on Huffpo is how he doesn't deserve his rights, he should be tortured, he should be sent to a secret prison, he should be killed right now... So, to me it means always being the bigger man so to speak, always be morally superior and never sacrifice your principles.

He should be Manninged or Dornered, so the Death Eaters squeal.

No proof, no due process. How does the mob make itself a god?

Free includes debt-free!

You know, not loving your enemy means not taking risks for them

You know, not loving your enemy is not taking risks for him. Like you don't tell him that he is in mortal danger when he is, but you don't say that because you're afraid he might not like you, or you might lose social standing or something.

Loving your enemy might entail taking risks, like he won't like you.

I know of no traditional Christianity that did not warn people of the truth, that they are deeply in sin, that they risk hell, and that God neveverless made a way out for them in His Son Jesus Christ.

Pilgrim's Progress in fact starts out this way:
" I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled;

"For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me." Psalm 38:4

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33

"For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;" Hebrews 2:2, 3

and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, "What shall I do?"

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

From Separation to Boredom


It has been said in a Judaic-Christian-Islamic context that separation from God, the Fall, is the source of all suffering. Buddhism names attachment as the cause of suffering, but careful examination reveals its teaching to be nearly identical to that of esoteric Western religion. Attachment, to the impermanent, delusory ego self and all those things that reinforce it, maintains a separation from the rest of the universe from which we are not actually separate. Attachment is separation. As for separation from God, what is God but that which transcends our separate selves and interpenetrates all being? On the origin of suffering, Eastern and (esoteric) Western religion are in fundamental agreement.[21]

In everyday human life, happiness and security come from strong connections—to family, community, nature, place, spirit, and self—and not from "independence" whether psychological or financial. Because the story of technology is one long saga of widening separation from nature, widening separation from community (because of specialization and the mass scale of society), widening separation from place (because of our highly mobile and indoor-centered lifestyles), and widening separation from spirit (because of the dominant scientific paradigms of the Newtonian World Machine), it is no wonder that the pain of the human condition has only grown throughout the modern era. Even as outright physical hardship has declined, psychological suffering in the form of loneliness, despair, depression, anxiety, angst, and anger has grown to epidemic proportions. Even when our technology succeeds in holding off the external consequences of separation, we still internalize it as a wound, a separation from our own souls.

Cyril's picture

Matthew 7:24–27.

Matthew 7:24–27.

That's how I strive to "love my enemy", on this end.

I note it really isn't easy, but I believe it's the best way that can possibly work for my enemy and I.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

love your enemy???

screw your ex? gimme a break! love 'em, forgive 'em, let 'em take your life if thou art as God wishes. That's the only way, cause God loves you and forgives you for being a sin...its a full blown revolution, the christians/meek inherit the earth(after the parasitical elite class have their go with 'er first.that may take a million years but we christians have for eternity...

Here is the real deal: Raw Cannabis A Dietary Essential - William Courtney, MD (NORML Live Show) - YouTube.mp4

In the flesh and blood we realist's do eternity...love your enemy until you're able to love their extermination! You don't really love their extermination per se, rather in great relief to have finally realized these value destroyers were of my own making.

Just quit allowing stit to live off of you, they are called parasites and their purpose/goal is to completely consume/destroy you. They are destined for certain extinction, the only question is whether or not they are able to kill the host first. Stop feeding the maggots already!!!

Don't hate the player, hate the game!!!


Was lucky there imo. If that guy and his buddies did something I do not think Ghandi would have been around for some time.

Ghandi was no Christ like figure....he was not a healer and caused the untold sufferings of thousands of his peoples.

What about Ali? I have heard he was the real reason for the Indian victories?


If you believe what Ghandi believed, and do not repent

If you believe what Ghandi believed, and do not repent and turn to Jesus Christ to be saved, you will go to hell.

I am 100% certain about this, as about any other sin or false teaching you cling to apart from Jesus Christ, who is the only name under heaven by which men may be saved.

I am not political, and do not care that the truth may not be popular. But it is the truth, and Jesus Christ sets men free.

I am not political, and I do not care if Ghandi was saved in the last 10 seconds of his life and no one knows it, while his teachings go on to encourage hundreds of millions towards hell.

I'm in good company. Jesus Christ wasn't political either. He told men the truth.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

It's stuff like this

"If you believe what Ghandi believed, and do not repent and turn to Jesus Christ to be saved, you will go to hell."

that makes you look like a stereotypical zealot. Oh yeah, you *are* one.

You say stuff like this to non-Christians, yet are among the first to cry persecution whenever someone criticizes your religion. Typical.

A signature used to be here!

well, well

You said what I, as a strong believer, was thinking. I think judgement, as stated in the original comment, is God's. While here on earth, I am told not to do so. My judging, in and of itself, is a sin. That shows me my imperfections, and the reason for my accepting God's grace. This has been a very good string! Thank you, everyone!

You should start another

You should start another thread. Without commenting on your posts, to avoid scripture battles and getting further from the topic, the OP had specific inquiries. I don't want to read all the posts to figure out how Ghandi got involved, but I would like to see your remarks about current events/theories and how to cope as a Christian.

Think loving your enemies, Jesus Christ, and hell go together

I may, but I didn't start the Ghandi comments, and it would be wrong to say nothing. Perhaps I've answered enough. I believe the video itself if from a Hindu linked above if I read right.

I'm not sure that talking about hell isn't talking about loving your enemies.

God's enemies are going to hell. He did not get rid of hell or make them be good. Instead Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, died on the cross instead, so those those come to him would not be destroyed, but spared.

That strikes me as Loving your Enemies. But if you get rid of needing to be saved, hell, being actual enemies, sin, you get rid of the knowledge of love too - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not works, least anyone boast.

Getting rid of the idea of sin, hell, the very real danger, may be political, but it isn't nice to those that are going there or needing Christ, and it's a gospel without the need to really be saved - an intellectual activity maybe, but not a very real danger.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

I do not disagree with alot

I do not disagree with alot of what you say, but speak more layman. Jesus spoke to his disciples and followers in parables so that they could come to the conclusions of the lessons on their own and own it, in turn growing in Christ.

It's likely to turn people away speaking scripture after scripture without giving an everyday application to terrified individuals who may be seeking right now.

I disagree with you. Take

I disagree with you. Take care of your own witnessing, and leave mine to God, who is and always has directed my steps. He's fully capable of making better *if* I need to be made better.

I'm ashamed of the comments trying to make Ghandi ok or soften it up, remove hell, etc, made by people at least claiming to be Christians. It isn't how the Bible teaches it, and therefore isn't how God says it.

I won't witness that way. I pray your own witnesses get better, for the few that did it.

And those who don't like me, won't read my messages. But cast your bread on the waters, and many days later, you will find it again. I doubt that there is no one that has ever benefited from my messages. I doubt everyone has to read me. Whomever I may reach in Christ Jesus is good enough reward.

It is not being loving to NOT tell people they are wrong unto hell, when they are

I am in grave concern about this people. It is not love not to warn them. It's like they've been boiling in water slowly, and no one is telling them destruction is coming. Warn your neighbors, don't not love them. It was the false prophets in the Bible that always went "peace, peace" when there is no peace. If you want peace, you need Jesus Christ.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Just in case...

...'removing hell' is referring to me, that is not my view. I just believe that He who holds the keys to hell (Rev 1:18) still loves those therein and will always hope for their reconciliation, and will achieve it. I do not believe that He who will even restore Sodom from exile (Ezek. 16:45-61), and will have the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem for the 'healing of the nations' (Rev 22:1,2) has in mind abandonment of any lost sheep. Otherwise 'Love never fails, always hopes' is a lie, and Paul's claim that all Creation will be reconciled to God through Him that He may be first in all (Col 1) is a lie.

Knowing you are an enemy of God part of salvation - repentance

A person saved has a real acknowledgement that he has actually been saved from something. He is grateful. He is joyful. God has saved me, even though I didn't deserve it. Even though I am the vilest of sinners. Even though I am an enemy. It was a free gift! Grace, God saved me because he really loves me!

It does not strike me that "maybe Ghandi was really saved", "maybe you can be saved after you die", "maybe hell doesn't really exist", "maybe God doesn't really mean what He says", etc, as real gospel messages. In fact, the opposite of "knowing you are an enemy of God", and repenting of it and turning to Jesus Christ and knowing God really loves you because he saves you.

All the later seem to involve lack of repentance, knowing you are an enemy of God, turning to God and asking his forgiveness and salvation through his Son Jesus Christ, etc, because God gives it to you.

It is the most remarkable thing in the world for someone to be saved. It is a miracle.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

"Woe unto you, scribes and

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

Jesus Christ talked about hell enough in the gospel. And speaking of gentle, he even overturned the tables of the money changers with a whip.

There is a spirit in the world that likes to dress up as an angel of light, but it isn't from God. It says peace peace, when there is no peace, like the false prophets the Bible speaks of.

Denying that the only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ is anti-christ. There is no getting around it.

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Can a leading anti-Christ teacher really be saved?

There's all types of scriptures to doubt it very much.

2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Revelation 22:
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Extraordinary things require extrodinary proof

Bible also says that God will not share his glory with another.

So for God to "secretly" save a leading anti-Christ teacher, but not allow anyone else to know it, so his teaching continues to propagate, would be God sharing his glory with someone else.

I can think of so many things wrong from scripture about this idea, but extraordinary things require extraordinary proof: It's time for you to show that Gandhi secretly repented and turned to Jesus Christ in the last moments of his life, while leading millions of his followers of his teaching to hell anyway. This is made more extraordinary by the fact that Ghandi can't choose to do this, God has to give it to Him, and Ghandi has already refused.

That refusal may be blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. There may not be another chance.

I can think of too many scriptures of false teachers going to their destruction, the ending of Revelation, how close it is if it is not in fact blasphmey of the Holy Spirit, to want to play with this.

If Ghandi and his believers do not repent of their beliefs and sins, and turn to Jesus Christ to be saved, they will wind up in hell. Jesus Christ is the only savior there is.

Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.


Raw Cannabis A Dietary Essential - William Courtney, MD (NORML Live Show) - YouTube.mp4

Don't hate the player, hate the game!!!

Before you can understand

Before you can understand what Jesus Christ means, one needs an awareness of the spiritual conditions plaguing humanity. Lucifer is behind ALL of it. Lucifer has many evil acolytes, i.e. fallen powers, in the heavenly realm which also manifest on earth in the form of UFOs, monsters, abductions, disease, etc. Lucifer is the father of lies and deceit.

Once one truly understands the massive scope of deception plaguing humanity, it's much easier to be able to forgive. EVERY human on earth is a patsy of evil at times, some more than others. Even Christians fall prey to the manipulations of Lucifer and its minions on the daily basis in the form of anger, errors, ignorance (what human can predict the full ramifications of his action?), etc.

Compassion comes from truly comprehending the scope of the deception. Does the latter understanding mean one will never lose it at times? No, because both the physical and spiritual assault become too much occasionally. Once this realization occurs, Jesus Christ as redeemer is able to step into the picture of one's life and help the believer to forgive. Forgiveness and love for an enemy don't necessarily mean a total surrender of judgment. Love for an enemy means having sufficient compassion and tolerance for their spiritual condition that ENABLES your enemy to eventually see the need for Jesus Christ's salvation and hence become your friend instead of your enemy. If someone treats you badly, try to ignore it. If an enemy is in need of physical help, try to assist.

Understand the spiritual forces behind behavior of humans and their condition. One of my pastors once made this statement and it greatly helps me even today: "Love your enemies so they can change" ....

Asclepius's picture

Reject fear, be thankful, and create your own light to truth

“Let go of anger, and leave rage behind. Do not be preoccupied, for it only leads to evil.”- Psalm 37:8 from GOD'S WORD® Translation

"Cease from anger …that … wicked people are permitted to carry out their plans...Do not allow your mind to become so excited that you will indulge in harsh or malignant [thoughts or] remarks; See always that you are right [in your ways regardless of what] others may be… Look to your own character and conduct first.” -Barnes' Notes on Psalm 37:8

When you understand the psychology behind social engineering, you realize that fear is their ONLY tool of control over the masses. We must reject the main stream media and corporate structure that supports it. It is not news folks, it is mind control!

WATCH - Social Engineering in the 20th Century

The most important thing for us to do right now is maintain free access to information on the Internet, which means calling your senator tomorrow to have them vote against the CISPA bill by the Senate.

It is evident to most everyone by now that their power structure of social control is breaking down. The PTB realize that they have to control the information and they can't do that if people are undermining their credibility by accessing information from the internet.

We also need to be good to one another and our neighbors. Help others not to panic and fall into states of fear. Keep a positive outlook on the future. Yes, things may get worse before they get better, but we have a good chance to bring the country back to its roots. Seek to become self-sufficient, grow your own food, and be a source of knowledge and hope for others.

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” -Tecumseh, Shawnee Native American Leader

"We would worry less if we praised more. Giving thanks is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” - Harry Ironside

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley

There have been many excellent responses to the OP...

... and I will only add two points from my Christian perspective.

First, our love for an enemy comes from God, and is a response to his love for us:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another... We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:7-11, 19 NIV

Second, loving the enemy is redemptive, possibly for the enemy...

Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth... - 2 Timothy 2:25 NIV

... and, more certainly, for us:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven... - Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. - Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand