“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

Matthew 5:43-46

What does it mean to love someone that hates you? David spent a lot of time in the company of Saul, a man who not only opposed him on a personal level, but waged war against him. He was, by any conceivable measure, David’s enemy.

It would have been easy for David to hate him right back. After all, wasn’t that the natural consequence for hate, to receive hate in return?

In 2 Samuel 2, David gets the news that King Saul has died. He mourns for him. He sings him a lament. The musician whom Saul assaulted as he sang lifts his voice to mourn his enemy. What a powerful statement! David was heartbroken that instead of resolution, there had been death. He had no chance to reconcile with the father of his best friend. His future with that man had been cut off. There was no return to peace between them. Can we love our enemies in the same way? Can we pray to God to reconcile us and to bless those who oppose us to their good? I know we can. We as a church can truly fulfill the words of the Lord in this way. The only question is, will you?

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published May 20, 2020