My childhood was marked by the fear of my nation's cold war adversary--the USSR. As sad as it is to admit it, as a very young child, I once questioned if it might be best if my country would get the war over with by launching a first nuclear strike. In my childish way of thinking, that would solve the problem. I was following the ways of fear.
Not My Enemies
Today I know people who would have been destroyed in such a horrid act of violence. These people are not my enemies. They have names. I've lived in their neighborhoods, eaten in their homes and worked, worshipped and played side-by-side with them. They are my family. I love them.
Jesus' teaching, that we should love our enemies, is possibly best obeyed by getting to know our enemies--until they are our enemies no longer.
Is there a nation or a people whom you fear enough to hate? Is there a religion or system you despise? Could you take the initiative to meet with one of these "enemies" long enough to know them? Have dinner with them? At your house or theirs? I did not say to meet them in order to agree with them; but for the purpose of knowing them--(even serving them). And if you know them, mightn't you love them? For the Christian, the answer of course is: "Yes."
If fear rules, which it does midst unknowing (or ignorance), then my enemies will remain enemies. I will live with a desire for their demise and for my own safety. The only path to safety seems to be through destruction of the other.
Fear brandishes hateful weapons with the intent of relieving fear.
Love delivers goodwill with the intent of bringing peace.
More on this, and what brought it to mind, coming soon.