Loving our enemies is one of the most difficult Biblical commandments to follow. Christianity proposes a unique directive, since no organized religion, philosophy or system of thought had ever taught its followers to love the people who hate them. Nevertheless, two millennia of trying to implement this commandment have been a great challenge. Judging from the behavior of most “Christians” and “Christian nations”, loving our enemies is not what we are widely known for. On the contrary, Christian people seem eager to observe vain and empty customs of religiosity, such as Easter bunnies and Christmas trees, and hesitant to follow the essence and the primary message of the Bible.
Loving the people who love you is easy, yet, some of us have a hard time accomplishing even that. Unfortunately, there is abuse, mistreatment and pain even in so-called Christian families and countries. Loving those who hate you, those who criticize you, those who persecute you, those who crucify you is what distinguishes a follower of Christ (a Christian) from all other people. Christ did exactly that: He forgave and loved His persecutors. If the first Christians did what other religions did, in other words, if they used the word and the sword as a vessel to proselytize, then, we could argue that our faith is from its origins violent, it preaches hatred and it divides people. Nevertheless, the first Christians chose to sacrifice their lives, forgiving their executors even at the time of their martyrdom. Their Leader and Savior did exactly that! They are justified in the land of the living, for eternity. Saint Sophia even saw her daughters dying as they were confessing their faith to the Crucifix. Nothing can take away the ethos of a Christian who preaches and practices the virtue of love. Our reward and our justification will be granted in Heaven. Earth requires difficulties and sacrifices. Christ endured so much, although He did not deserve any of that, He is the only Sinless One.
I am not going to ask if the Christian world is a paradigm of what the Bible preaches. Love and charity are two virtues fallen victims of a consuming, violent and egocentric society. Our modern world kills more infants than any other society of the past. Mankind possesses enough weapons to destroy the planet dozens times, over and over. I would like to know if we, the people who come to Church and want to follow Christ, are willing to sacrifice something little for our faith. In a dynamic and growing Community, filled with works of charity and philanthropic events, each one of us can give an answer to this question. “Be merciful, for your Father is merciful.”
+Economos Nikiforos Fakinos