If you read Christian news outlets, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Christianity is under attack and that we’re slowly being pushed by the wayside by our enemies. Muslims want us to submit to Sharia Law, homosexuals want us to adopt a radical agenda that disintegrates the modern family, liberals want us to pay more money into a universal health care system, and the list goes on. While some Christians might not openly say, “This is my enemy,” sometimes Christians act as though they have enemies. People who are outspoken against Christianity receive no respect, no care, no time of day, and most importantly, no love.
I would submit that Christian actions in these situations are completely unwarranted and border on paranoid. Every time we engage in a protest or target a specific person as an “enemy” we violate Scripture. We forget that Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Our battle isn’t against Sharia Law, homosexuality, Richard Dawkins, or any one particular person; rather, our battle is against the ideologies that entrap certain people.
We forget that the Bible says we were slaves to sin. While we do willfully engage in sin, when someone is a slave to sin this would indicate that certain beliefs and actions are inevitable. Would we show hatred to a slave for serving an evil master when the slave has little to no choice? Wouldn’t we try to help the slave escape rather than protest the slave?
At the end of the day, when we treat people as enemies we do little to advance the cause of Christ. Many people are under the false impression that Christianity has done nothing but harm this world (such views come from a drastic misunderstanding of Scripture, along with actions taken during the Crusades, Witch Hunts, and current attitudes). We offer little justification for arguing against such an impression. It would be better if we were to befriend those who disagree with us, not with the end goal being conversion, but simply befriending the person as a person. While we can disagree with such people, this does not mean we cannot be friendly in our disagreement. While some will still treat us horribly and speak to us with vitriol no matter how loving we are, this does not excuse us to treat them in kind. There is quite a bit to be said for turning the other cheek.