This is a blog post that thunderbolt94 kind of requested. He was complaining about some guy who just did not understand the Christian concept of loving your enemies and I asked him if I should do a blog post about it, to which he replied: yes please! I would like to start this blog post with a declarative statement: I would gladly punch each and every one of you in the face. If I could reach through my computer screen and punch you in the face, I would. Well, sort of. There is a qualifier to that statement: only if you deserve it. For example, if you are deliberately dishonest, insulting or similar for no reason right off the bat, then you can expect me to call you out on it.
Often you also get atheists and lukewarm Christian types who think that using insults are un-Biblical and go against Jesus’ teachings to “turn the other cheek” and so on. Yet, this is simply not the case. First off, what does it mean to love your enemies? People today often take this to mean the same love that you have for friends and family, yet, in our cream-puff modern society and our simplified English language, we have moved away from the social, cultural, textual and linguistic of the world the New Testament was written. In English, there is only one word for love, ‘love,’ which confusingly carries a variety of meanings. In Koine Greek, which the New Testament was written in, there was more than one word for love. As I am sure most people are aware, there are different qualitative types of love. When we say we love something, we mean that we love them in a specific way. For example, I love my mother, my cat and ice cream, yet I love them in different ways. Ancient languages, such as Koine Greek, had different words to describe these different qualitative types of love.
The Greek word used in the New Testament when we are told to love our neighbours as we loves ourselves and to love our enemies and elsewhere, the New Testament uses the word agape. Agape does not mean loving someone on a personal level and has nothing to do with feelings, emotions, sentiments, fondness or any kind of warm affinity. Agape refers to looking out for the best interests of the group and group bonding. The closest parallel in modern terms would be “tough love,” the compassionate use of stringent disciplinary measures, to attempt to improve someone’s behaviour. This is in line with the social setting of the 1st century AD world, where societies were group-centred and what was good for the group was paramount. You do not have to be nice to people in order to love them in this way.
I care about truth. I care about what is best for humanity. I care what is best for God’s Kingdom. I do not give a damn about social etiquette, or about sugar coating what I say, and I most certainly do not give a damn about getting people back. If you are an idiot, expect to be called on it. If you are a liar, expect to be called on it. If you go around gratuitously flaming, trolling, deliberately misrepresenting things, or committing any other acts of fraud, dishonesty or act like a childish, immature name-caller, I will point this out, at great-length. I will parody and satirise your style and follow you around commenting on your sub-par methods and tactics. If you cannot take that, then you should not be such a worthless piece of human excrement. If you are a complete and utter moron, then it is your own damn fault when people call you out for being stupid.
As aforementioned, people like to complain when Christians use insults, and so on, yet, in line with the definition of agape this is no issue. Insults can be justified if there is a genuine need for them and we see examples of these kinds of situations in the New Testament. We have examples of Jesus offering sharp rhetorical insults and rebukes to the Pharisees and even to his own disciples. He refers to the Pharisees as a “brood of vipers,” and says to Peter “get behind me Satan!” Furthermore, John makes a scathing attack on apostates and heretics in his gospel and Paul has similarly harsh words to say about opponents to his preaching. Nothing about loving your enemies entails chumming up to them and lying over as a doormat. Now, what about the turning your other cheek passage? That is easy, in its relevant social context, it means not to retaliate, resort to petty revenge or try to get back at people. The passage about going an extra mile, again, in its proper social context, means to take inconveniences on the chin. They say nothing about being a wishy-washy doormat. Christians are permitted to be tough when they have to be, but ONLY when they have to be. I will leave some links that should further elucidate on this subject. Thank you, much love and goodnight.