Exodus 23:4-5 (KJV) 4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
God’s instruction has to do with dealing with enemies; it wasn’t a command not to have enemies. It didn’t explain about the existence or non-existence of enemies; enemies were a given. They will have enemies. But they didn’t have to act the usual way enemies act toward each other. For the enemies to experience something bad would have naturally been a joyous occasion for the opponent. But they were not to bask in their enemies’ tragedy. Enemy or not, they were to help them alleviate their misadventure.
This is a call to be different; this is a call to fight our instinctive fleshly responses. Naturally, generally, commonly, we desire our enemies to suffer – as much as they can, as long as they can. Some of us would prefer them to “cease to exist” in any way, form, or fashion. The sadder they are, the happier we are; the worse life deals them, the better we feel. As God’s people, we are called to love our enemies. That calls for a totally different set of thoughts, emotions, and actions; a totally counter-natural way of responding to situations. No, we ought to not laugh at our enemies’ tears. Simply, no matter what, no matter who, we ought to always be sincerely nice. And for us to be nice to our enemies, either we experience total inner transformation that we would no longer have any kind of ill-feelings toward those who do us terrible wrongs, or resolve and commit to always act in love no matter how contrary we feel.
Our loving God, please strengthen us to be more like You Who loved us even when we were still sinners, when we were still Your enemies, in Jesus’ Name, amen.