Love your enemy. Love them when they belittle you in a company meeting. Love them when they cuss you out, spit landing on your cheek. Love them when they sit in a board meeting, spouting a single solitary lie. Love them when you boss goes on vacation, asking you to work overtime while he's gone. Incidentally, whatever you do, love your enemy.
However, you have heard hate your enemy? Wait? What? Where is that written? At least that's what I grew up thinking, that somehow Yeshua was overriding some previous old testament command. It's easy to believe that. How many stories do we remember about every man woman and child taken out at Gods command? However, is that the heart of the Torah?
Let us rewind the Torah tape. Are there biblical themes that show us precisely what it means to love your enemy? Remember that silly holiness code in Leviticus?
"You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I AM YHWH.
Well, you have to ask now, who was running around telling people to hate? There are a few external references in scripture. David talks about hating what God hates perfectly.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
I'd say this is a strange juxtaposition. I hate those who hate you and but search me and make sure my heart is pure? However, don't lose heart. The rest of that song has David extolling the intimacy of his creator. That hate, by comparison, might be a tad hyperbolic.
If Yeshua was re-framing the law, then he knew the heart of Torah was love, even for your "favorite" person. The first time the Torah mentions love is with Abraham and Issac. The Jews call it the Akedah. According to the Jewish virtual library, "the Akedah became in Jewish thought the supreme example of self-sacrifice in obedience to God's will." this is the first time in the Torah that self-sacrifice and love get inextricably linked.
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Now let's connect this thought to the Brit Chadasha or new covenant. The book of Romans explains that YHWH proved his love for us by this, that the Messiah died for us while we were still sinners. Rabbi Paul clearly understood the Akedah, that self-sacrifice and love were connected ideas. He continues, saying,
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
In the Torah, the first prophetic picture we get is the messiah sacrificing his life. YHWH heart is love for his enemies, how much more should our lives reflect this truth.