The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Enemy Love in Practice

Christian Practises Enemy Love

Jesus said:

… I tell you who hear, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27,28)

From 1962 to 1965, I taught school (as an outsider) at Crystal Springs Hutterite Community. During that time, I came to know Sam Kleinsasser as a friendly and joyful man, who well understood Christianity as it was practised among Hutterite people. I had many edifying conversations with this wise man. His position in the community was that of the humble task of working in the pig barn, taking care of the hogs.

Crystal Springs had excellent relations with most of their neighbours—with a single exception. There was one particular neighbour who hated Hutterites.

While living at Crystal Springs, the following account was related to me:

One day, Sam was driving a tractor down a public road. The tractor broke down, right in from of the house of the man who hated Hutterites. I don’t know his name, but we’ll call him “Mr. Animus.” Well, Sam had to phone the colony in order to get help, and so he knocked on the door of the house, and the wife answered, “Yes?”

“My tractor broke down, and I was wondering if I could use your phone to call home for help.”

“I guess so. Come in.”

First Sam removed his muddy boots, placed them near the door step, and entered in his sock feet. He had just completed his call to the colony, when the man of the house entered.

“What are you doing here, you $#*@& Hutterite?”

“My tractor broke down and I had to make a phone call.”

“Well you get the hell out of here, you stupid, $#*@& Hutterite!”

What could Sam do, but go? So Sam walked to the door and reached for his boots. Before Sam could pick them up, Mr. Animus grabbed them and threw them into a mud puddle.

When I tell this story, I ask each of my listeners at this point to tell me what he would do if he were Sam. Some said they would punch the man in the face. Others said they would just pick up their boots, go and sit on the tractor, and wait for help to arrive.

Sam did something quite different. He turned to the man and said, “Say, why don’t you come and visit us at Crystal Springs? Come for dinner next Sunday. You’d be very welcome, and I know you’d have a good time.”

“Oh, get out of here.” But his tone was not quite as angry as it had been.

Well, guess who showed up for dinner at Crystal Springs the following Sunday?The Hutterite brethren treated Mr. Animus like a king! He was short of potatoes that year, and they gave him several bags to take home. The man was highly impressed. After that, he was one of Crystal Springs’ best friends.

Jesus’ instructions to love one’s enemies works in practice, and can have very positive results.

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Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Beautiful story. Thank you so much.

What the heck does that mean?:laughing: I wanted to say hell but I realize that that offends certain folks…

Did you read the account I gave of Sam Kleinsasser’s experience with a hateful neighbour?
That’s a pretty good example of overcoming evil with good.

Let me rephrase that

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good”
Paul- Romans 12:21

If we acknowledge that there actually is some evil in our souls, and that it is expressed by the evils we see in the world - if we agree on that then we can make progress overcoming it. If we see no evil in ourselves or the world, then overcoming it and making the world a better place, and ourselves better people, would be impossible. The correct diagnosis of the problem is the only direct way to the cure.
Is everyone totally evil? Of course not. But the evil in us is enough to produce the world we have. Is there good in the world? Of course there is. Where evil has been overcome, there is good

1 What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? 2 You crave what you do not have. You kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.

4 You adulteressesa Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think the Scripture says without reason that the Spirit He caused to dwell in us yearns with envy? 6 But He gives us more grace. This is why it says:

“God opposes the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.”b

Drawing Near to God

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. And if you judge the law, you are not a practitioner of the law, but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

I tend to agree with this to a point.

Your context could be all wrong.

A successful man might well be humble but very knowledgeable about his trade. He may be proud about his accomplishments to friends and family, not necessarily arrogant but assured. In my world, when I meet such a person, I know it automatically. These are not the flaunting types but the ‘to be honest’ come from nothing workaholics and achieve great things, all in their own sphere of understanding.

“Pride” has two connotations.

  1. Arrogance,believing oneself to be superior to others. Putting down others as inferior.

I think this is the “pride” that God opposes.

  1. Being happy with one’s accomplishments or those of one’s family. For example: “My children always behave well; I am proud of them.”

I think, MM, that meaning 2 is the one that you have in mind. God has no problem with that.

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