"I have to admit I fail this test every time and doubt I will ever pass. I do not think I am better than anyone or more righteous than anyone. I know I have miles to go before anything I do will ever be seen as more than dirty rags, but and here is my crux. “I don’t love my enemy”. I hate paedophiles, the sick governors of this land, people that get pleasure out of causing pain to others. I have tried to love them but I don’t. I have not got that gift unfortunately and if I am honest with myself I don’t want it. Even before I knew Jesus I was defiantly a sinner and still am but I have never got pleasure out of causing others pain or been what I call a siko.
Even so and this is the greatest confusion in my version of Christ. I also could not send them to an eternal hell. I’d just finish them If I was God and set us all free.
I know he has a plan just wish he would share it.
How the governor will view my short comings I have no Idea, but as he knows my every thought it seems pointless to kid myself I feel any different. I would honour your opinion.
Thank you 'tabbycat' for your question and honesty. And thank you for asking my opinion, for whatever it might be worth. Which opinion is based in the Word; classical, 'orthodox' understanding and teaching on that Word, combined with my own ongoing witness/experience that is roundly confirming the same . . . in a big way in my own life recently . . . . So, at least I can say I'm not reiterating some stale, old spiritless dogma, but rather, expressing what I am freshly, vibrantly, "livingly" finding to be true . . . .
First, I would suggest that your honest appraisal of your situation is a sign to me that you will "pass". "Growing" . . . or "progressing" in the Walk of acceding more and more to the changing power (the process of "sanctification") of the Holy Spirit . . . is strongly based on the person honestly looking at their fallen self and realizing just how sinful that "natural" self really is. People who fool themselves with believing they are a "basically good person" . . . and who never face the natural, real hatred of their owns hearts . . . are delusional . . . and not even close to being in that necessary, broken place where they finally realize that, by their own power, they are unable to spiritually grow. It is in the stark, devastating realization that we, of ourselves, can do NOTHING pleasing to God, that we at last get out of the way, so that the Spirit can move in and begin to take the reigns . . . and lead us to begin actually being more Christ-like.
"I have tried to love them but I don’t" you said, regarding the wicked who cause such pain and suffering. Which is absolutely true. You've tried . . . but you don't . . .you can't. The power and ability to love one's enemies comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. By ourselves, we can't and never would. When you find that you are able to do so, it will be because the Spirit has invested you so that you can and do.
What you can do, is continue to pray for receiving that Spirit--to have Him so displace your old self that such an act becomes not just possible, but a regular, consistent part of your new nature. And when the old self says, "but I don't really feel like learning to love enemies . . . and why should I?" The answer is because it is commanded to do so . . . and a follower of Christ (regardless of feelings, instincts, predilections etc.) WANTS to obey God nevertheless . . . .
What you will understand . . . at some point . . . is that the part of you that doesn't even want to learn how or be able to love one's enemies . . . is not doing you any favors. You are not affecting or changing the wicked in continuing to fight them on their own ground (hate from the heart--which Jesus says is akin to having a murderous heart) "Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them." (1 John 3:15)
Those who are destroying the peace and security of this world, and those such as pedophiles . . . in their own way are also murderers--as they destroy lives. But Jesus says you are a murderer too. As you pray for and plead for the Holy Spirit to help you leave your old, sinful, fallen self and its cold, stone heart behind, you will find that continuing on in ways (thoughts, actions, feelings) that are contrary to the love of God and thus against Jesus Himself . . . that you . . . slowly but surely . . . FOR REAL . . . begin to start being mortified, horrified, devastated . . . that you think and act in ways that offend His Spirit. Increasingly, FOR REAL, as the Holy Spirit invades and guides your life . . . and the new creature in Christ sprouts--a tender, but tangible shoot--you no longer care so much what is going on in the terrible, fallen world--the details thereof--but, rather, more and more, all you care about is pleasing God.
Somewhat ironically, the more you only care about pleasing and obeying God (because of your deepening reverence and utter dependence on the Spirit) the more ACTUALLY useful you will become in alleviating the suffering in the world. Love, unbridled, unbound, radiating from you to all, just as God's does on the just and unjust, is the single most powerful . . . and even practical force of change you have to offer to this hellish, love-starved planet.
As for God's judgment on the wicked, we must know that our limited, fallen, finite, unjust, sinful minds . . . cannot come near to second guessing what He has in store and why and how He will do it. We can, however, know that He mightily respects and has offered a realm of freedom. He did not make Adam and Eve as robots, programmed to ONLY choose good, but rather, allowed a situation where the choosing of evil was possible. This world, this plan . . . is impossible for us to fathom, being but creatures and only seeing things from our extremely myopic (small, narrow) selfish viewpoint . . . but one thing seems clear; that He he giving a grand display of what life is like where people and creation is allowed to live by its OWN standards, whims, desires--a world WITHOUT God, so-to-speak . . . where the creatures, in their astounding, delusional and foolish self pride, actually try to run the show, based on their own selfish interests, incapable (being mere creatures) of creating a world that is fair, just and good for all!
And also, we can see . . . that those who go to hell . . . are those who hate God . . . continue to Hate God . . . who want nothing to do with God and who reject His will . . . and not only that, but mock and despise His sovereignty, and who consistently attack, mock an crucify the most innocent, perfect, loving man in the world, Who was also the same God they loathe . . . and that such people will only be going to a place that they have shown that they love and want MORE than God.
At some point, if you believe in Jesus . . . and love Him . . . and want to be like Him (many people self described as "Christians" actually don't want to be like Jesus, surprisingly) . . . and are tired of your dirty, rotten, old, sinful self and all it's endless garbage . . . . EVENTUALLY . . . you stop quibbling and resisting final surrender . . . throw in the towel, and just plead and pray and beg and yearn to be rid of ALL the old attachments and habits of the former self . . . come what may, trusting in God, and those things you don't understand . . . don't keep you from progressing, as you DO understand and accept the fundamental premise: "I need a saviour, I need Jesus!" . . . . . and then, the further you develop in immersion in His Word and Spirit . . . "Eyes" are many times given to you which, by their new "Sight" . . . satisfy and answer your previous nagging concerns . . . .
I named these topics "Killer Techniques" . . . in a sense to . . . to appeal to the angry part of us which is NOT inclined to love others we perceive as the enemy. I totally understand and have felt that anger and frustration at how vile, devious, despicable . . . the evil-lovers of this world are . . . . If I were not a Christian . . . and thus, felt that ie., "saving the country" was the highest order . . . I would not be hesitating . . . to be some of those traitor's worst nightmare . . . .
But, I follow Jesus, and so . . . have no truck with this world, looking instead to the world to come . . . and so, have learned . . . to re-channel that anger into something more in line with how the Lord would have me be. So, what I am saying is, when I catch myself . . . seeing "the enemy" . . . and having that instant, repulsed, inner angry reaction of the mind and heart, instead, I turn that anger on myself. How dare I hate one of God's creatures? How do I know what God has planned for that person? Perhaps I am hating someone who may turn into a Paul? Besides, why do I think that I am better than them? If there IS anything "better" about me, so-to-speak . . . it certainly isn't because I deserved it or made it so by my own power.
ALL the power and ability in me--especially to be good or "better" CAN ONLY COME FROM GOD, so I have NOTHING to boast about over another!
So, yeah, when I catch myself judging someone, thinking what a sinner they are . . . I at least try to stop that outward looking heart of subtle hatred . . . which makes me a murderer in the Lord's eyes . . . and turn it back on myself . . . to remind myself what a sinner I am--and one who has no business feeling and thinking of myself "above" ANYONE else . . . .
If you honestly realize that you don't even have the desire to learn to love your enemies (which honesty, again I say is highly auspicious! and encouraging!) . . . BUT you KNOW that you are suppose to (regardless of your feelings in the matter) . . . I suggest you simply pray . . . and pray . . . for God to give you this ability, whether you want it or not, BECAUSE it is one of His commandments, and you know that OF YOURSELF, you are incapable of getting it . . . BUT KNOWING AND BELIEVING that HE CAN get it in and to you . . . as He desires . . . if you claim yourself a follower of Jesus . . . . .
Thank you again for sharing your sincere and honest thoughts and giving me a chance to expound. I pray it is even slightly helpful, should you want it to be so:) God bless you.
[And my wife just reminded me this to add: Remember that Jesus loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners! To be like Him, we are to do the same.]
It is easy to love the lovely. What sets apart the disciple of Jesus, is the ability (given as a gift of the Spirit) to love the UNlovely, just as God did us. When the realization and appreciation of THAT FACT consumes your daily life, the Spirit will find you, change you, and your eternal life is begun, growing in grace.
your brother in Jesus, thomas