As I’ve said before: there’s nothing more offensive in the teachings of Christ than the simple phrase “love your enemies”. It’s a phrase that defies common sense to the point that even most Christians I know, or talk to online, don’t functionally believe it should be followed– even if they do claim to believe the inspiration or inerrancy of scripture.
People reject this aspect of the teachings of Jesus for a variety of reasons. I think this is primarily because it’s a doctrine that’s been so neglected under the era of Christendom that when someone brings it up, it just sounds like complete hippie nonsense. One of the main ways some of my critics push back against the doctrine of Christian nonviolence is through questions such as, “How could it bring glory to God if your enemies kill you?”, “What good are you to anyone if you’re dead?”, or “It would not honor God to get shot by a guy who is stealing your television”. I’ve heard about seventeen different ways of asking the same question.
These questions appear to be driven by a few underlying assumptions that seem to be rational, but are revealed to be false when we consider what I believe is the core purpose for a Jesus follower. The false assumption is essentially this: “if I die before my time, God’s plan plan for my life will be thwarted”, or perhaps “I am no use to God or anyone else if I’m dead”.
And, I get it. The idea of dying for one’s enemies is crazy– and I’d reject it to if it were not for the fact that this is precisely what the guy who kicked this whole movement off did with his life.