Love can be polarizing. True, pure Christ-like love makes some people angry. Jesus’ love for sinners got Him crucified. Loving your enemies can be dangerous – especially today. Yet loving our enemies is what God calls us to do. Bill Bright wrote about how one man’s story…
Jesus taught His disciples, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, NIV). That is difficult, if not impossible, without yielding control of our lives to the Holy Spirit who lives in every believer.
One man who demonstrated God’s love for his enemies is Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor who was imprisoned and tortured for his faith. During the Nazi Holocaust, his family lost parents, several sisters, and a brother, as well as orphaned children they had taken in. During those terrible days, he was introduced to a German soldier who boasted how he had killed Jews—even those who held little children in their arms.
This man did not realize that Wurmbrand was a Jew. Since Wurmbrand is a good German name and he was a Christian pastor, the soldier assumed that Richard was not Jewish. During the soldier’s boasts of cruelty against Jews, Wurmbrand did not say a word. Instead, he invited the man to his home.
The soldier accepted the invitation. When they arrived, Wurmbrand explained that his wife was sick in bed. After conversing until late at night, the Romanian pastor said, “Sir, I have to tell you something. But promise me that you will listen to me ten minutes quietly. After ten minutes, you can say whatever you like.” The soldier readily agreed.
Richard Wurmbrand then said, “In the other room, my wife is sleeping. She is Jewish, and I am Jewish too. Her family, which is also my family, perished in one of the big Nazi concentration camps. You boasted that you have killed in the same concentration camp where our family was sent. So you presumably are the very murderer of my family.
“Now I propose to you an experiment. We will pass into the other room and will tell my wife who you are. I can assure you my wife will not say one word of reproach, will not look angrily at you, will smile at you as at every guest. She will consider you as an honored guest. She will go and prepare for you coffee and some cookies. You will be received just like everybody else. If my wife, who is only human, can do this, if she can love you like this, knowing what you have done and can forgive you, then how much more will Jesus, who is love.”
The tall soldier tore at his jacket, crying, “What have I done, what have I done? I am guilty of so much blood.” This man who had never before heard a prayer knelt with the pastor and asked God for forgiveness.
Then the two men came into the room where Mrs. Wurmbrand lay. She had heard nothing about what had happened in the next room, but when her husband woke her, she did exactly as he described she would. When she heard that the soldier had repented of his sins, she fell around his neck. They both wept. Pastor Wurmbrand writes of the scene, “It was a scene of love like in heaven. That is what Jesus can do. He is love.”
When Christians begin to love God, they will love their enemies. The world today, as in the first century, will marvel when they see our loving attitudes and actions (John 13:35).
Excerpt from GOD, Who Are You Anyway? By Bill Bright
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