Loving One's Enemies

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VilnaGaon

Puritan Board Sophomore
Rushdooney in one of his shorter books stated that Loving one's enemies simply means keeping the 10 commandments with respect to them. Rushdooney quotes the scriptural definition of Love as the keeping of the Commandments, in support of this proposition. Rushdooney discounts love as sentimental, warm feelings towards one's enemies which one hears in Arminian and Charismatic circles. Technically one should be able to loathe one's enemies at the same time Loving him in the scriptural sense.

Is loving one's Neighbour different than from loving one's enemies? Who is my neighbour? Rabbi Samuel Ben Meir(RASHBAM) defined one's neighbour as a righteous man(Commentary on Leviticus). This would seem to fit in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, in as much as the righteous Samaritan was defined as one's neighbour. Are we to love our Neighbours differently than from our enemies?
What are your thoughts on this???
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wow, interesting topic. I read somewhere (forgot where) that loving someone 'as yourself' means ... well, exactly what it says. I don't always have warm sentimental feelings about myself. Sometimes, I even loathe myself. But I always do care for myself and hope that I will improve and wish myself well. In other words, if I do something quite awful, I may 'hate' myself for it in some sense, and even harshly reprove myself. But I do so hoping that next time I will do better and wishing for my own improvement and that good will happen to me.

And so the conclusion of what I read (again, wish I had the reference, but don't) was that this is how we love our enemies and others ... not gooey sentimental feelings and not overlooking their sin, but always wishing for their good and hoping for their improvement and praying that God will be gracious to them.

I dunno ... it's just a thought, but I'm anxious to hear what others here have to say.
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I have spent some time thinking about this issue, and also the matter of "love." One conclusion that I've come to is that love is often an action rather than feeling - although it can be a feeling as well. Therefore, its possible to love someone without particularly liking them. I'm not familiar with Rushdoony, but I would say that I agree that keeping the Ten Commandments towards one's enemy is a way of loving them. I also think that examining Christ's life and actions and seeking to act as he did towards our enemies is wise. Christ was charitable towards sinners and towards those who rejected him. I think that we should seek to do the same. That doesn't mean that we must embrace or accept sin, but that we recognize that we are also sinners and that if Christ loved us with all of our filth that we should also love those who are yet unregenerate.
 

VilnaGaon

Puritan Board Sophomore
If one considers the "least" commandments in all their breadth (just read through the prohibitions and requirements of each commandment in the Larger Catechism to get an idea) that make up the "whole" of the commandment, one would be stupefied at the seemingly impossible and insurmountable task it is to love God and love one's neighbor by the measure of God's Law. Such love goes far beyond any kind of sentimental or "gooey" feelings and, if you will, ups the ante to such a degree that we would never say "loving one's neighbor is simply keeping the Commandments with respect to them" as if it were some small feat. Gooey feelings, etc. would be so much easier.

I believe what Rushdooney was trying to convey was that Love of one's enemies(not necessarily neighbour) was basically the outward keeping of the 10 Commandments with respect to him.eg. Do not steal your enemies property, Do not sleep with his wife, Do not physically harm him, Do not lie about him to others(gossip) etc. Most Christians are already not doing these things in respect of their enemies to say nothing of Non-Christians.

The love of neighbour or brother is different qualitatively from the love of enemy. One only has to read the Sermon on the Mount to see the nature and depth of the love required for neighbour or brother.
 
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