Christian Practises Enemy Love
… 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.