Must governments love their enemies too?

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Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. This last week we studied the Book of Obadiah and learned a good bit about conflict, how conflict can really become toxic in our hearts, and how Jesus can overcome that toxicity and cure us of it so we can love our enemies as Jesus instructs us to. What he has done for us transforms us into being a different kind of person. Instead of Jesus humiliating his enemies, he was humiliated in their place. Instead of him annihilating his enemies, he was annihilated in their place.

When we see he has done that for us, it enables us really to engage in love with our enemies. We won’t laugh at their humiliation. We won’t dance on their grave. We will serve them. We will love them.

And so the question comes in this week, a couple that are kind of related. One, what are we to do with our anger over evil? And two, especially with what we see happening in the world right now. Can governments do anything about evil? Should they love their enemies as well?

These questions are related because their answers really tie to one another. On the one hand, as individual Christians, we are always called to love our enemies. It’s the end of Romans twelve. Again, vengeance is mine, says the Lord. It’s not ours even against horrendous evil.

Right. It’s again, the end of Romans twelve. Don’t return evil to evil. Overcome evil with good. We never respond in wrath to our enemies.

We hand the work of justice over to God, that he will levy his perfect justice on the earth. But one of the ways that we hand justice over to God is in the hands of his servants, who he has put in place to levy justice on the earth. Again, the end of Romans twelve going into Romans 13. Romans 13 speaks of governments are put in place partly to bear the sword of the wrath of God. They are here to keep justice, to punish injustice.

That’s one of their purposes. God has put them there for that reason. So when a government responds to evil, it’s not how individual Christians are told to respond to evil, and it’s right next to each other. In Romans twelve going into Romans 13, governments can respond in wrath as part of God’s justice on the earth. Individuals never.

And you see that very clearly. End of Romans Twelve going into Romans 13. So, sure, with evils we see happening in the world, governments can rightly respond to those evils that are happening. But individual Christians, still, we cannot dance on the grave of our enemy, laugh at our enemy’s humiliation, even if our enemy is being totally evil, our responsibility as individual Christians is to love them and to serve them well. Hey, I hope that helps add some clarity.

Thanks for the question, and we will see you next time. Bye.