As Memorial Day approaches, the nation honors those in the military past and present who have served and died to protect this nation. This remembrance should also include, to a certain extent, our enemies as well. I'm not saying that we should honor those with whom we've gone to war, but as Christians we can surely recognize that our enemies are people created in God's image and worthy of our prayers. As a matter of fact, in Matthew 5:44, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and demonstrated this kind of love in His dealings with Judas, the one who betrayed Him. The Apostle John describes how Jesus did this for His enemy Judas. In John 13:26-27, John says that.
1. Jesus Humbled Himself Before Judas.
Jesus washed the feet of Judas along with the twelve. Many times what creates animosity is the need to win or dominate others. This action showed that Jesus' purpose was to serve not defeat His enemy. This type of attitude provides communication and promotes peace between enemies.
2. Jesus Honored Judas.
Jesus gave Judas a morsel dipped in wine which was a gesture of honor in that society. Secretly, He was acknowledging Judas' aggression towards Him. Publicly, however, Jesus was showing him honor in order to permit His enemy to save face and make reconciliation easier.
3. Jesus Spoke Gently to Judas.
Even when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss, Jesus merely asked him a simple question without anger or resentment. A soft answer does turn away wrath and we see this later on as Judas' feelings toward Jesus are changed.
We can't avoid enemies but we can learn to deal with them as Christians if we do what Jesus did with His own personal enemy, Judas. So let us remember our own heroes as part of our nation's tribute, but let us not forget our enemies either, because God loves them too.