Do 2 Chronicles 19:2 and Psalms 139:21-22 contradict Matthew 5:44? - Bible Questions and Answers - Prayer Tents

Question

10. Do 2 Chronicles 19:2 and Psalms 139:21-22 contradict Matthew 5:44?
Asked by: Male, North America, Christian, 19-25 on March 15, 2021 8:14:53 pm

Answer

2Chronicles 19:2
Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. "Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD?" he asked the king. "Because of what you have done, the LORD is very angry with you.

Psalms 139:21-22
21O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? 22Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.

Matthew 5:44
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Thanks for the great question! The brief answer is that it is not a contradiction and that Jesus wants us to care for and show love to our neighbors, including non-believers, while being holy, as He is.

Now, let me break that down.

First, to be holy means to be separate. 1Peter 1:15-16 says Christians must be holy as He is holy. Deuteronomy 14:2 clarifies that to be holy means to be separate. Christians are called to be different from those who do not believe in Jesus. 

Consider also 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Verse 17 says explicitly to separate from unbelievers! You are probably wondering, how can Jesus say to love even our enemies when his followers (Paul in this case) says things like this?

It means to show love and care for them, but do not become close, life-sharing, friends with them. It is similar to the message of marriage that you should marry a person who is a believer. As Christians, we seek to live at peace with everyone, but our faith, or the way we live, will be different and cannot be compatible with people who do not believe.

Consider the verse you mentioned in Matthew 5. In verse 44, Jesus says, "you have heard the law that says, 'love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'" Jesus is definitely pointing to something here, but it is not fully Jewish Scripture! Leviticus 19:18 says to "love your neighbor as yourself." There is no mention of hating your enemy. Hating your enemies is actually referring to human-made rules that eventually formed along the way. The Pharisees figured this "holiness," or to be separate, meant to consider themselves higher than everyone and no longer associate with others. They considered their "neighbor" as only people who believed or were Jewish. That is why you would see a familiar story in Luke 10, where a person asks, "who is my neighbor?" (verse 29). Jesus explains that even the Samaritans the Jews hated are their neighbors.

Now, as people who are separate for the Lord, we must not desire or love the things of the world (See 1John 2:15-16). The things of the world, or things that go against God's will, are what we are called to hate. Take a look at the two verses you mentioned: 2Chronicles 19:2, Psalm 139:21-22, and take a look at other verses too: Psalm 1:1, Psalm 26:4-5, Psalm 31:6, Psalm 101:3-4, Psalm 119:113, Psalm 139:19-24, Proverbs 29:27, Ecclesiastes 3:1,8, Amos 5:21, Romans 12:9, James 4:4.

These verses talk about hating and being enemies. Believers are hating, and God is hating. What are they hating? Things that are not of God or sin. Or the people or nations who sin.

God loves all people to come to Him and find forgiveness and salvation (John 3:16). Consider this verse:

2Peter 3:9 (NLT)
The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Jesus will return and judge the world. It will be a binary decision - does the person believe in Jesus? Yes or no.

As Christians, our ability to love people who do not believe would be to show kindness and acceptance. The goal of such interaction would be to demonstrate over time that we are trustworthy and that we serve a God who is enabling us to live such attractive lives. We want them to know God through how we live and share the Gospel when they ask (2 Timothy 4:2).

Take a look at Romans 12:16-21:

16Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all! 17Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," 20Instead, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads." 21Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Why do Christians act in kindness and in loving ways to people who do not believe? It is to:

  1. Allow God to take revenge. It is for Him to do, not us. So we live at peace with others and let God be the judge.
  2. By feeding the enemies who are hungry and giving them a drink when they are thirsty, showing love to them, may heap burning coals of shame on their heads. They may come to know God and turn away from their sins.

Some Scriptures show Christians rejoicing when people who do not believe in God get punished (or dies). Consider: Psalm 48:11, Psalm 58:10, Proverbs 11:10, Revelation 18:20.

As Christians, we seek to see God's will done (Matthew 6:33), and that also includes the demise of the people who do not believe in Jesus and continue to remain in sin (though we want them to come to faith). So, people who love God will also despise what people not aligned with God may do. When people operate away from God's purposes and injustices occur, Christians can hate the situation and even the people who commit them. Yet, when those same people come to us hungry or thirsty, we can feed them and give them something to drink. We can welcome them and show them the love God has given us because we trust God for the results.

So the answer to your question is, no, they are not contradictory, and we are called to love our neighbors. Our neighbors include those who do not yet believe in Jesus. 

Thanks again for the great question. Blessings!



Answered by Dr. Sang Sur





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10. Do 2 Chronicles 19:2 and Psalms 139:21-22 contradict Matthew 5:44?
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