I was reading an article today about a Democrat who hugged a Republican after a Senate hearing. (If you are following politics at all I am sure you know what I am talking about). These two have been in the Senate together for decades, and even though they have been on opposite sides of most every issue, which, unfortunately, in the political arena would make them “enemies”, and never more so than now as they fight over the confirmation of the next Supreme Court justice – an issue that is helping to deepen the divide in our country – when the hearing was over, the ranking Democrat hugged the leading Republican. Now people are calling for her removal.

Sad, right? But what if it were reversed, like when Chris Christie hugged President Obama when he visited after a hurricane devastated New Jersey? Republicans were livid!

It seems that in these two instances, these individuals seemed to have parsed out the difference between being enemies on an issue and being enemies as people. I find that surprising for politicians. But it should not be for Christians. This is our call.

I do not know if the Democrat in the Senate is a follower of Jesus or not, but she behaved more like Jesus than some believers are behaving. I am not judging; I am simply observing. And it is not hard, just read what some Christians are posting on social media and it is clear they are not praying before they post or comment, (like comments that might end up on this post).

Are you a follower of Christ? Here is what He said about this matter:

“Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’ However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.” Matthew 5:43-48 TPT

This has to be the hardest command of Christ in the Bible. I believe that it is because human love cannot do this, only God’s love can. But isn’t God’s love what we are supposed to be known for? The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only son.

This is the kind of love the world needs right now more than ever. I believe this is what God meant when he woke me up with the phrase, “There has never been a better time for you to shine!”

It is the love of God that shines brightest in a world darkened by hate.

Right now, with so much hate in the world among coworkers, friends, neighbors, family members, and even in churches, showing the unconditional love of God to our enemies is the only hope our nation has.

Loving your enemy does not mean you are endorsing what they believe, it means you are doing what the Bible says, honoring the fact that they were made in God’s image, too.

“We use our tongue to praise God our Father and then turn around and curse a person who was made in his very image! Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sister, this should never be!” James 3:9-10 TPT

But more than honoring the God-image in others, you are building, or maintaining, the relational bridge you will need to hopefully bring the to Christ.

If you are a follower of Jesus… has He called you to go into all the world and share the Good News, or your political views?

Are you more concerned with politics or the spiritual destiny of people?

I want to encourage you to stay focused on your divine assignment. Remain more passionate about people than politics – Jesus is.

What are you going do with those who believe differently than you do, spiritually and politically? Are you going to hate them or love them?

What are you going to do with those who actively hate you, curse you, or persecute you? Are you going to respond in kind or respond like Jesus would?

John