Most Christians love those who are being oppressed: the poor, needy, those affected unjustly, etc.
But Christianity calls us to love those who are OUR oppressors. In other words, do you love those who treat you unfairly and unjustly? Do you love those who treat you wrongly?
Matt. 5:43-46 states: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”**
We are called to love our persecutors by Christ! I’d say that’s pretty radical.
Lest you think that’s the ONLY place in the Bible that says to love your enemy, here is Romans 12:17-21:
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”****
One more place in the Bible that talks about suffering like Christ Jesus suffered (unjustly and unfairly) is I Peter 2:18-19:
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.”^^
Go on and read the rest of that passage to see that these two verses are NOT a fluke but part of a deeper teaching: suffering like our Savior suffered for the glory of God.
So, do you love your oppressors and those who treat you with hate? If not, then you will likely never win them to Christ.
My toughest counseling cases are NOT those who have been abused and are victims though those are very sad. My toughest counseling cases are those who have been the ABUSERS and are perpetrators of sin and crime against others. It is hard to be compassionate to those men and women who purposely inflict pain to others, but they need Christ desperately.
Aren’t you glad that God did not give up on Saul who became the apostle Paul in Acts 9? Saul, a murderer of Christians, became one of the founding fathers of the Christian faith and a prolific writer of Scriptures! Praise God’s Name!
Love is the final fight for all of us. We must fight against our fleshly nature to love others, especially our enemies! Who knows? You may lead your enemy to Christ and he/she may become like the apostle Paul and advance the kingdom in amazing ways!
**The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mt 5:43-46). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
****The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 12:17-21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
^^The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Pe 2:18-19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
-Mark (learning to love the oppressor like Jesus did in Luke 23:34 – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”)