“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” -Philippians 3:18
Churches that treat people like enemies are missing the point.
Atheists are not our enemies. Homosexuals are not our enemies. Politicians are not our enemies, regardless of party. Muslims are not our enemies. If anything, they are exactly who we are to invest our love and care in.
There are people who don’t believe what you believe, and may never even come close to agreeing with you. There are even people who want to humiliate you for what you believe or prove you wrong if possible. You can call them enemies if you like, but you are never supposed to treat them as such. When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he talked about people who were working against him, spreading lies about him, trying to crush his reputation. Paul said that when he thought of those people it broke his heart; that he thought about them with tears. He didn’t ignore or explain away what they were doing. He just chose sorrow instead of anger when he thought of them. If the church is going to impact the world today, we need to become expert at loving people that we disagree with. Love is not an optional part of Christian life, it's mandatory. It’s not easy. It can’t be faked. It won’t be perfect, but it always has to be the goal. People may often combat your arguments, but it’s hard to explain away authentic care. When you trust the truth you know about God, you won’t need to become defensive when someone challenges it. You can hear them out and discuss it if possible, but you don’t have to hate them. You can simply choose to give them what God has given you, patience and love.
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