Luke 6:27-31 (ESV)
"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
It’s a tall order. The truth is, this is the way God’s kingdom works with us. It isn’t how society is supposed to work. And Christians will find that loving their enemy is not always going to play out singing “kumbaya my Lord” around a campfire. But God’s kingdom receives us despite everything we deserve. Despite the fact that we are by nature enemies of God, he still loves us, and sends his son to die for us. We live in forgiveness in communion with Christ. Because this is true we are also able to forgive others, and love those who hate us. We will also find that, we fall short of God’s admonition here, and will realize all the more how much we need forgiveness.
I’d like to expand a little bit on this though. These sorts of verses are often brought up when convenient at war protests and so forth. Often it seems by people who themselves couldn’t give Jesus Christ the time of day. You really wonder if any of them have ever set foot in church. And one is reminded that the devil knows scripture quite well. They will quote verses like this to argue that we shouldn’t go to war, in a self-righteous tone they will despise the soldier that defends his neighbor by shooting his enemy. This sort of nonsense can’t stand. Sad to say, I’ve known not a few chaplains in the service that don’t know what to do with verses like this. At least, so it would seem from some of the sermons I was subjected to as an Airman.
Really, we are suffering as a nation because of Biblical misunderstandings about these things. Military personnel come home from war feeling guilty, thinking they have broken the 5th commandment, and violated such verses as these above. I remember in my time serving our nation, dealing with pious Christians who felt such guilt. There is insanity involved here. Even when reformed and now Roman Catholics too, translating the fifth commandment as thou shalt not “kill” rather than “murder,” just add confusion to a poor struggling conscience. When mom’s try to train their boys to not play soldier, and teach them that such things are wrong, (this is the message you send whether you intend it or not) you create a psychological environment that leads to such troubled consciences.
These sayings are not to be applied as a rule for society, but as a personal thing to be employed with good judgment, balanced with the whole counsel of God’s word. This has nothing to do with society and how it must operate.
Soldiers go to war. And we should be thankful they do. Boys playing war, in my mind, ought to be encouraged. It is a blessed thing to be called upon to protect your neighbor. Yes love your enemy. Pray for them, pray for our soldiers too. They aren’t murdering, or breaking the fifth commandment. They aren’t breaking the admonition that Christ gives here. They are loving. That they love their enemies, does not mean that they should not also love their country, and their neighbors, try to protect them. The soldier in fact, while loving the enemy, and yet doing his job, is fulfilling the fifth commandment of loving his neighbor, and the seventh commandment by not stealing but protecting his neighbor’s property. And in that light, a war does not have to be strictly one of home defense, or defense of one’s own country. In the book “The Knight’s of Rhodes” mercenaries come from all over Christendom to help the knights fight against the Ottomans. Boys from Crete enlist in droves against their own ruler’s orders. They do so because they know what is right. The mercenaries are not just there for money. They come to fight a war that is theirs, to assist the Knights in their battle. It is a noble thing. These men, they knew what it meant that greater love hath no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends. To say, as innocent people are being killed, and embroiled in conflict, that it isn’t my battle, well that isn’t exactly true. And to demonize others for fighting along side those who have a just cause is an awful thing to do in the name of Christ.
Yes, we would all like to live in a world of peace. We don’t. And sometimes loving your neighbor means killing your enemy. I really need to sit down and translate “On Whether Soldiers Too can be Saved.” No soldier ever ought to be forced to buy that piece of work.