But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
When I study the elementary principles of the Torah, I am always amazed at how, while addressing His perfect will and standard for our lives, knowing our frame (Psalms 103:14), our vile wickedness, Abba works with us accordingly.
To fight a war, soldiers work themselves into an adrenaline high of hateful frenzy against an enemy. You have to, or you can’t kill. This often results in abuses performed by unscrupulous soldiers. Some countries are more sophisticated than others about it, but the result is still loot, pillage and sexual abuse. In the case of Israel’s wars the Father, aware of the temptation for soldiers to acquire themselves wives from the enemy’s camp, established rules for the protection of captured women. The Torah demands that these women be granted dignity and honor. They are to be allowed to mourn their parents and be taken as wives, not as sexual slaves. Also they are not to be sold.
This tells us of God’s nature. Human life, whosever it is, is precious in His sight, and is not to be abused for personal gain. God demands higher ethical standards from His army and from His people in general. No matter what they do to us, we may not become like them. It is not a question of who they are, but of who we are! Once we yield to inhumane savageries we may win the battle, but spiritually, we have joined the enemy and lost the war.
Come to think of it, this is, and always has been God’s way with us. He is the great Conqueror of our soul. He did not force Israel into intimacy. He wooed her with the strength of His Right Arm, His kindness, and His mercies. He freed her from those who oppressed her and kept her captive. He supplied her with food and water from His heavenly reserves. Then finally, He invited her to covenant, and to marriage. He does not want us as slaves; He gives us dignity in the status of brides: wives. What is sad is that sometimes we behave more like slaves forced to do His bidding than wives part of His household who serve Him because we love Him and are His.
May we think about these things as we enter this season of introspection before the Fall festivals. May we always remember that with the mercies, compassion, and dignity He treats us, we are to treat others, whoever they are. Doing so, we will be perfect, emulating the Torah Yeshua taught us (Matthew 5:48).