Loving your enemies: Lesson from Dr King

Love for our enemies may compel us to downplay their abuse, but love for the victims should compel us not to.

“Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”

“We must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy.

Racists are nice people….

“Dr. E. Franklin Fraizer, in an interesting essay entitled ‘the Pathology of Race Prejudice,’ included several examples of white persons who were normal, amiable, and congenial in their day-to-day relationships with other white persons but when they were challenged to think of Negroes as equals or even to discuss the question of racial injustice, they reacted with unbelievable irrationality and an abnormal unbalance. This happens when hate lingers in our minds…”

I find the writings of Dr King useful in explaining how to love our enemy-neighbours (i.e. government supporters).

[Quotes from Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, Ch. 5: Loving your enemies]

They are enemies. (Eritrean president Issaias Afewerki and high-ranking officials)

What of the Ethiopian Church

Ethiopian evangelical church worship

There is a peculiar lack of voice from Ethiopian Churches  about their brothers and sisters of Eritrea. The suffering of Eritrean Christians has yet to inspire gospel songs or sermons in any major conference.

So far I haven’t heard of any Ethiopian pastor or gospel singer talk about the persecution of Eritrean Churches. I am not aware of any special service done by the Ethiopians addressing issues of Eritrean Christians. This is not good. I am very fond of Ethiopian spiritual songs and sermons, they show great care and concern for their society. Why the silence on Eritrea?

P.S.: This blog is about silence of the Church in speaking publicly and NOT about silence towards God. One is not necessarily an indicator of the other.
I have written about the strange silence of Eritrean Churches on their own affairs (my articles “Mute and without opinion” and “Eritrean evangelical Christians are criminals” are some examples).

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Updated July 24

God Desires Good Government

{Excerpt from article by Derek Prince}

In his First Epistle to Timothy, Paul instructs Timothy in the proper order and administration of the local church, which he calls “God’s house” (See 1 Timothy 3:14-15). In chapter two he gives directions for the church’s ministry of prayer:

1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2for kings, and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

“First of all,” Paul calls for “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks….” If we were to choose one term to cover all four activities, it would be prayer. The first duty of Christians meeting in fellowship is prayer. It is also their primary outreach.

In verse two Paul says that prayer is to be offered “for all men.” This agrees with the prophecy of Isaiah 56:7 where God says, “…Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” God is concerned with all men and all people,” and He expects His people to share His concern.

After “all men,” the first specific topic for prayer is “kings, and all that are in authority.” This may be summed up in the single word, the government. When praying for the government, what specific petition are we exhorted to make? Paul’s answer is: “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Does the kind of government we live under affect the way we live? Obviously it does. Therefore, if we desire a good way of life, logic and self-interest alike indicate that we should pray for our government.

Continuing in 1 Timothy 2, Paul says in verse three, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour….” The pronoun this refers back to the topic of verse 2, which we have summarized as “good government.” If we replace the pronoun this by the phrase to which it refers, we arrive at the following statement: “Good government is good and acceptable in the sight of God.” More simply still, “Good government is the will of God.”

Here is a statement with the most far-reaching consequences. Do we really believe it? To judge by the words and actions of many Christians, they have little or no expectations of good government. They are more or less resigned to the fact that the government will be inefficient, wasteful, arbitrary, corrupt, unjust. For my part I have studied this question long and carefully in the light of logic and of Scripture, and I have come to a deep conviction concerning God’s will in this area: The will of God is good government.

Why God Desires Good Government

Moving on to verse four, we find that Paul states the reason why good government is the will of God: God desires “…all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God desires the salvation of all men so intensely that He made it possible by the supreme sacrifice of history, the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Through faith in Christ’s atonement, salvation has been made available to all men. However, for men “to be saved,” they must first “come to the knowledge of the truth” concerning Christ’s atonement. This is possible only if they have the Gospel preached to them.

Paul presents this issue very plainly in Romans 10:13-14: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Unless the Gospel is preached to them, men cannot avail themselves of the salvation purchased for them by Christ’s atonement.

We may sum up the logic of this very simply. God desires “all men to be saved.” For this it is necessary for them to “come to the knowledge of the truth.” “Knowledge of the truth” comes only through the preaching of the Gospel. Therefore God desires the Gospel to be preached to all men.

What kind of government makes it easier to preach the Gospel? Good government or bad government? To obtain an answer to this question, we may briefly contrast the effects of good and bad government, in so far as they relate to the preaching of the Gospel.

On the one hand, good government maintains law and order, it keeps communications open, it preserves civil liberty, it protects freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Good government, without becoming involved in religious controversy, provides a climate in which the Gospel can be preached effectively.

On the other hand, bad government allows the breakdown of law and order, permits unsafe travel conditions and poor communications, and imposes unjust and arbitrary restrictions. In all these ways, although in varying degrees, bad government hinders the effective preaching of the truth. At its worst, bad government either restricts or totally suppresses the universal right of all men to believe in God and to express their faith by public worship and proclamation. In one degree or another, we see these conditions in countries today.

Our conclusion therefore is that good government facilitates the preaching of the gospel, while bad government hinders it. For this reason, good government is the will of God.

Read full article at Herald of His Coming web page–Praying for our government.