in Tall Tales

See no evil? [Loving Enemies]

During my time journeying with people on the margins I have known many people who have done horrible things. I have known, and been known by, crack dealers, pimps, pedophiles, rapists, torturers, and murderers. That’s a pretty horrible string of actions and titles.
But here’s the catch — of all the people I have known I have not been able to hate any of them. That is to say, I have learned to love every person I have met. Not because I have turned a blind eye to the things that they have done, but because I have seen something worth loving in each person. I have found it impossible to not show compassion to any of them — even though I tried hard to hate some of them at first. In all of these people I have caught a glimpse of somebody loved by God — despite the life-shattering violence they have experienced and the life-shattering violence they have inflicted on others. I have met broken people who have done evil things, but in all these relationships I have not met a single evil person. It is easy to call these people evil from a distance, but I challenge you to journey with them face to face and come to the same conclusions.
Furthermore, I think that this compassionate love is the way that Christians should respond to these people. After all, we are called to love even our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. And this is premised upon the very character and actions of the Christian God. Here is a God who transforms enemies into friends, who loves so deeply that he loves and forgives even those who rejected him, mocked him, striped him, and crucified him. It is this, perhaps more than anything else, that sets the Christian God apart from all other gods. What other God was willing to undergo this humiliation? What other God takes evil seriously and still loves in a way that extends beyond evil, making evil impotent? As worshipers of this God, Christians are called to love even these people.
This is one of the reasons why I tend towards a hopeful universalism. If I, in all my fallenness, can love these people in my small way, does not God love them far more? If I am called to journey with them, to commit myself to loving even my enemies, and the enemies of my loved ones, is not God even more committed to this? It makes no sense for God to call us to love our enemies (because he loves his enemies) and then for God to go on to damn his enemies. It especially makes no sense when we come face to face with our enemies, and the enemies of our loved ones, and discover that there is something lovely within them. If I can see that within them, surely God can see far more. I suspect that I am only giving them a small taste of a far greater love. A love that is still to come. A love that will come when God comes down and heals all wounds, dries all tears, and makes all things new.

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