We were all born with an original identity from God, which is rooted in love. But when sin entered the world through disobedience, that identity we originally got from God became thwarted so that we can no longer love in truth with the spontaneity and disposition it demands. Envy, jealousy, greed, discontent, dissatisfaction, manipulation, deceit became powerful forces that drive thinking and actions. But so are the thirst for vengeance and domination and even elimination or annihilation of persons or groups of persons perceived as threats to one’s precarious security, power and comfort. It is a situation we see constantly repeated in relationships, families, communities and larger societies. It is all a consequence of losing touch with our identity in God. But whenever anyone experiences the liberating force of our original identity in God, such a person begins to live in God’s kingdom of love, where efforts are constantly made to live as God would desire: in constant forgiveness and leaving behind all the thirst for vengeance and hatred and killing. That is the spirit in the heart of David, the man after God’s heart. A few times he could have killed Saul, who, consumed by envy and jealousy, sought to eliminate David. But David is guided by his identity in God, namely to love and leave vengeance to God as well as extend the hand of friendship to his enemy.

In the light of this, you can easily see the mission of Jesus Christ: to restore us back to our identity in God and introduce us back into the kingdom of love. “Love your enemies” therefore is not an impossible moral command. Rather it is how to live in this Kingdom of love, as long as we continue to work hard at reclaiming our original identity in God. Our identity is to love and love always. This also means we have to forgive always, for sin has warped our minds and hearts unleashing negative forces within us. The more we let the power of Jesus Christ work in us, the more we are transformed into new creatures, capable of bearing our true identity in the Kingdom of love. In the end, we are faced with living either in the Kingdom of Love or in the Kingdom of this world where envy, jealousy, greed, manipulation, discontent and hate reign. It is a matter of choice. If you choose to live in the Kingdom of Love, then you are open to letting God’s grace reshape you into your original identity in God. If you choose to live in the kingdom of this world, then you can get on with all those negative forces, and hate and kill both real and imagined enemies. As a follower of Christ, I pray you choose to live in the kingdom of love. Amen