YoungSan Theological Institute of Hansei University
[ Article ]
Journal of Youngsan Theology - Vol. 49, No. 0, pp.87-113
ISSN: 1738-1509 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Sep 2019
Received 30 Jun 2019 Revised 31 Jul 2019 Accepted 14 Aug 2019

The Primacy of Jesus’Command to Love Our Enemies over Lex Talionis for a Desirable Future

Chinyeul Yu
Sungkyul University, Systematic Theology
더 나은 미래를 위해 보응의 법보다 더 우월한 ‘원수를 사랑하라’는 예수의 계명


Lex talionis and the love command seem run on parallel lines which never meet. To regard the command as an impossible possibility appears to be a realistic approach, and the retribution law does justice to society which aims to preserve order by deterring crimes. However, the ideal is always a possibility on two counts. Firstly, humans become dignified when they recognize their origin as Imago Dei. Secondly, they are capable to do what can be achieved by the grace of God. Accordingly, the reality and primacy of the command are justified.

Jesus’ saying itself to love our enemies is an evidence that the loving principle is a more advisable than the retribution one for the prosperity of human society. History also advocates the view that ‘eye for eye’ method fails to produce the good results humans hope for, but tends to cause a vicious circle. Christian experiences adduce the evidences that agape as the law of human destiny works more effectively than the other to attain a peaceful world. The constructive way to deal with enemies is also more utilitarian, parsimonious, and efficient in order to cope with the discordancy of humanity. Ⅰ. Introduction


보응의 법과 사랑의 계명은 결코 만나지 않는 평행선을 달리는 것 같다. 타락한 인간성 때문에 그 계명을 불가능하다고 보는 것이 현실적인 것 같으며, 그 법은 사회의 질서를 유지하는 역할을 한다. 그러나 그 계명의 실천은 두 가지 이유 때문에 항상 가능하다: 1. 사람이 신의 형상으로 창조된 것을 인식하면 존엄하게 된다. 2. 인간은 성령 안에서 예수를 통한 하나님의 은혜에 의해 성취되는 일을 할 수 있다. 따라서 사랑의 계명의 실제성과 우월성은 정당화된다.

‘원수를 사랑하라’는 계명 자체가 그것이 사회의 번영을 위해 보응의 법보다 더 권할 만한 것이라는 증거이다. 역사는‘눈에는 눈’의 방식이 인간이 원하는 좋은 결과를 얻지 못하고 악순환을 조장한다는 견해를 지지한다. 기독교적 경험은 인간의 운명을 위한 원리인 아가페가 그 법보다 평화로운 세상을 건설하는 데 더 효과적이라는 증거들을 제공한다. 그 원리가 사회의 갈등과 분쟁에 대처하기 위해 더 실용적이고 간결하며 효율적인 것이다.


the Love Command, Lex Talionis, the Primacy of Love, Virtuous Circle, the Harmony between Justice and Love


사랑의 계명, 보응의 법, 사랑의 우월성, 선순환, 정의와 사랑의 조화

Ⅰ. Introduction

Jesus’ exhortation to love our enemies baffles people who assume that ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’ is the best conceivable solution to the ills of this fallen society. The command also makes many sincere Christians wonder if Jesus meant it rather literally, and how our society will be transformed as its people observe it. Is his command feasible in this feud-laden world? If it is possible, is that a better option for coexistence over the law of equitable retribution, lex talionis?

There are several differing opinions on the feasibility of the command: pessimistic, sarcastic, and optimistic. Reinhold Niebuhr has a negative view of the noble command. He actually argues that loving our enemy is an impossible possibility: “The ideal is an impossibility because both the contingencies of nature and the sin in the human heart prevent men from ever living in that perfect freedom and equality.”1) Thus he intends to be realistic about its possibility in the corrupted world. For Niebuhr, the easy conscience and complacency of naive perfectionism derive from a faulty analysis of human nature which fails to realize the depth of egoism and finitude of human existence. He contends that humans cannot sublime egocentric nature, achieve sacrificial love, or actualize altruistic life.

Others tend to disregard the command as unrealistic or even slavish. It belongs to “the demand of an attainable Godlikeness.”2) For example, Nietzsche finds two fundamental forms of morality: master morality and slave morality. Unlike the former, the latter regards kindness, sympathy, and humility as valuable. Reacting to oppression, the weak seek psychological gratification by making the master slave as well, or by feeling superior to them in that masters are immoral, cruel, and hypocritical in dealing with slaves.3) It is highly plausible that Nietzsche might consider the feeling a normal countermeasure for the weak. He would also argue that the command is a logic of the weak to evade the unfavorable conflict with our enemy or the strong.

On the other hand, some people contend that humans can act out the command. Yoder asserts its possibility, regarding it as “a quite conceivable, even attainable imperative.”4) John Wesley does not overtly advocate its possibility, but alludes to it as he claims that Christians may be sanctified while they are alive because of the nature of the command to be holy.5) Those who are optimistic about the love command appeal to the Bible and believer’s experience for its feasibility. In a historical sense, we find good examples which prove that the love of our enemy is actualized with some people. For example, the story of Rev. Son Yangwon speaks eloquently for its actualization.

This thesis espouses the view that the love command is not only feasible but also preferable to the talion law for peaceful symbiosis among people. It attempts to fortify this position by articulating the role and limit of the law, by evaluating the possibility and effect of the command, and by analyzing Nietzsche’s view of the philanthropic virtue. The primacy of the command will be highlighted further by suggesting its biblical, historical, and utilitarian rationales. In doing so, this writer intends to propose a creative idea which is biblically based, empirically plausible, and logically consistent.

Ⅱ. A Critical Analysis of Nietzsche’s Contempt for Sympathy and Altruism

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung once said, “Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.”6) It is not clear if this aphorism was spoken out against Nietzsche’s well-known concept of ‘The Will to Power,’ but it seems quite likely that Jung was aware of the concept. However, Jung in the precept deals with love and power antithetically. For him, “To love is to forego power and to attain power is to vanquish love. Here, Jung seems to equate ‘power’ with domination, specifically the domination of another.”7) Is this what Nietzsche had in mind when he spoke of power? Does power only mean domination, manipulation, and exploitation?

Nietzsche would not agree wholly with Jung on the meaning and usage of the term. The former argues that authentic power is not to dominate but to lead and serve others in a creative way. He thus claims, “the state in which we hurt others. ... is a sign that we are still lacking power.”8) The will to power does not intend to control others through the use of manipulation and coercion, demonstrating some psychological impotency. If this is the case, even where power reigns, love is not lacking.

Accordingly, in the thought of Nietzsche, power does not rule out the potentiality of love. This amicable view is congruent with his distinction between force (Kraft) and power (Macht). For him, force is physical while power is spiritual in the sense that the latter is closely related to self-mastery and sublimation for procreative goals. The will to power is an expansive principle,9) fundamental to all life, and even applied to the cosmos. Where there is life, there is will to power. This idea of the will is connected not only to the creative aspect of existence but to human behavior and morality.

Nietzsche found two major moralities in society and individuals: master morality and slave morality.10) The latter grew out of the ressentiment of the powerful by the weak. This hatred for the powerful is so deep and even venomous as to invert the value system of good and bad, which is set by the noble. To Nietzsche, this inversion means the slave revolt in morality. Historically, Judaism and Christianity revolted against the Roman Empire and developed their own slave morality which is antithetical to everything the Empire taught.

The weak need the illusion of the heavenly kingdom where they can rule the strong and enjoy victory over them, and an imaginary good or value to make the powerful defeated in a moral sense. As a result, slave morality becomes an inversion of master morality. It is engendered in opposition to what the strong value as good. While nobility, openness, courage, trust, and self-esteem are highly valued in master morality, the weak have a high regard for sympathy, kindness, and humility.

With this distinction, Nietzsche makes it clear that master morality is preferable to slave morality, downplaying the Biblical concepts of pity, meekness, and charity. While he does not deny the meaning and significance of the latter outright, he seems to feel nostalgia for the strong-willed heroes found in the Greco-Roman world, aligning himself with the nobles who exert the will to power.11) Adopting this perspective, he alludes to his intention to disparage essential Christian messages including the command to love our enemies.

This thesis is concerned about whether or not his view of the religious virtues is appropriate in an empirical sense. The following analysis of lex talionis and the love command would shed light on the question.

Ⅲ. The Function and Effect of Lex Talionis

Had this world not been corrupted, there would not have had such regulations as lex talionis. This implies that they are merely a provisional prescription for the fallen humanity. But this fact does not rule out that laws may function as a buttress for the order and prosperity of the world, if not as a remedy for the ills of society. What is then their roles and limits for human existence here on the earth?

1. The Validity of Lex Talionis

Although some western countries report that the crime rate is higher among the Muslim immigrants than the non-Muslim whites,12) it is observed that Islamic nations in general have a lower crime rate compared to non-Islamic countries.13) A contributing factor to this reality is that Islamic nations usually apply Sharia14) strictly to all areas of society. There is of course no guarantee that harsh punishments would effectively deter crimes. However, lex talionis seems to weaken, if not break, people’s intention to commit sins. Serajzadeh makes it clear that the law in some degree deters people from being an offender, saying as follows:15)

In general, the low crime rate of the Islamic countries can be attributed to several socio-cultural characteristics of these societies. Firstly, Islamic countries have been culturally, to a great extent, homogeneous; in most Islamic countries a majority of populations enjoy a remarkable religious and often racial uniformity.
Secondly, in Islamic countries a cohesive family network has been largely preserved. Even in modern cities, the family network is still impressively effective. It fulfills a considerable role in the process of socialization and provides social support and security for its members.
Thirdly, in the religious world-view of the peoples of Islamic countries there is more emphasis on the duties of individuals than on their rights. Consequently, community and state interventions in individuals’ private affairs are tolerated and justified for the sake of their social benefits.
Finally, public opinion in Islamic countries is less tolerant of criminal behavior and more favorable towards severe punishments than in other nations.

In addition to these factors, Serajzadeh focuses on the Muslim submission to God's will. Giving priority to Allah's imperative and community in life is significant enough to maintain a wholesome society. He concludes, “Within homogeneous religious communities, an emphasis on personal responsibility for salvation, defined in terms of obedience to God’s rules on the one hand and stress on the significance of the community of believers on the other, contributes to a tight social bond and effective control over the individual.”16)

As articulated in the above, the law of revenge functions as a powerful deterrent against trespasses, thwarting a person’s will to break social sanctions. In this sense, the law only contributes passively to social order and safety.17) It cannot be argued that the law is a vital force for the prosperity of society, creating good values among its members. However, it becomes clear that without the law, they have no way to discern between right and wrong or between what is sanctioned and what is allowed.

Lex talionis thus has not only deterrent effects but cognitive functions in that it makes people know what to do in relation to others. It dictates the terms of harmonious life to them. Apart from it, society would fall into pandemonium, and chaos would reign. God gave this law due to human corruption of the heart, “as a dam against the river of violence which flows from man’s evil heart.”18) Sometimes condonement may not be the best policy to cope with injustice and crime.19) In that case, the retribution law will do better for social order and prosperity.

2. The Aftermath of Lex Talionis

Lex talionis plays a role as the principle of precise reciprocity. The simplest rule of ‘eye for eye’ dictates that punishment must be exactly equal to the crime. The intent behind the law of retaliation is to enforce equitable retribution. According to this law, killing should be dealt with the death of the killer, and any repayment must be equal to the loss in a monetary sense. If a person causes the psychological distress of another, the former must experience the tantamount suffering by the latter. The principle may apply to all that require reciprocity in individual and collective levels.

Then, questions about the aftermath of that sort of justice arise: What would be the result of such an exact retribution for society? Can we humans achieve the desired goal, utopia, by observing the law? Is there a better way to satisfy our longing for peaceful coexistence, which is seated deep down in our hearts? How should we fulfil the relational destiny of humanity, and build an authentic community harmonizing justice and charity?

Without the balance between justice and grace, humans are not able to have a favorable situation in which we enjoy peaceful symbiosis.20) That is why the Lord asks us to do the both through Micah the prophet. What is good in the sight of God is “to act justly and to love mercy” (Mi 6:8). These two injunctions seem to be a paradox, or an incompatible opposite. Whereas the first one is “the pursuit of restoration, of rectifying wrongs, of creating right relationships based on equity and fairness,” the second involves understanding, sympathy, and forgiveness. The latter is also “oriented toward supporting persons who have committed injustices, encouraging them to change and move on.”21)

However, the harmony of the two is easier to be said than done. We often must choose between doing justice or showing mercy. Especially in making peace, the tension of the two conflicting acts is so apparent that the makers might feel that a dichotomic approach is preferable. But, as alluded to in the inclusive saying of Jesus in Matthew 23:23, evangelicals are not supposed to embrace extreme perspectives, avoiding all the bias.22) Apart from the strenuous effort to uphold both, the desired state of equilibrium becomes impossible. “Reconciliation has to be achieved by bringing together of justice and charity, and transformative peacemaking embraces the both.”23)

If we take an ‘either A or B’ approach in this restorative, reconciliatory process, we cannot experience true peace considering only one aspect of reality at the expense of the other. For example, if doing justice or executing the law of talion is all we do without showing mercy, the situation tends to get worse. In this case, the solution of one problem creates another problem, increasing the difficulty of dealing with the original problem. Even if it leads to some favorable results, it also engenders other detrimental side-effects. If we do not break the destructive moral matrix, “we remain part of the problem, perpetuating violence in the name of justice, reacting without mindfulness to personal grudges and the seductive call for retribution.”24)

Historical evidences of war prove that a vicious circle rather than a virtuous circle continues in a conflict until external forces intervene and break the circle. This fact is evident in the nature of war which defies predictability. The law of unintended consequences is often applied to war situations. “Thus, violent retribution by the leaders of a victimized country runs the risk not only of killing additional innocent civilians but also of generating yet more attacks, in a potentially endless cycle of violence.”25) The wars against terrorism in Islamic states such as Iraq and Afghanistan are merely a recent demonstration of the negative circle.26)

Ⅳ. Jesus and the Love Command

First of all, Jesus’ command to love our enemies is theocentric (God-centered) in nature. Loving enemy is in line with the merciful nature of God. As Piper says, “This love is grounded in the mercies of God experienced by the believer in Christ.”27) According to Luke, Jesus makes it clear that human love for our neighbor or enemy has to be based on God’s leniency toward the ungrateful and wicked (Lk 6:35-36). Matthew also reports his similar view following the same line of logic in the Gospel of Matthew 5:43-48. Klassen puts it this way, “The sanction for loving the enemy is simply to participate in the nature of God, to retaliate as God does, or to be indiscriminating in our love, or to participate in God’s benevolent nature.”28)

The theocentric nature of the command becomes even clearer in the epistle of John the apostle. For him, the essence of love derives from God. So whoever knows God should love one another because he is love (1 Jn 4:7-8). Our love for others including our enemy should be built on His love demonstrated in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Based on the great love of God manifested in Jesus’ cross, we are to forgive others who wrong us.29) God’s greatness finds its final expression in his showing of mercy on sinners or even adversaries.30) We love others because God first loved us. “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 Jn 4:12).

Secondly, the love command is meant to be an inversion of common morality31) which exhorts “love your friends and hate your enemies.” That kind of radical imperative seems unprecedented in the ancient world, though some cultures such as Judaism and Buddhism show partial elements of the idea.32) Jesus himself points out its radicality as he speaks about the common aphorism: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ ... But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:38-44). Whereas lex talionis stipulates life for life, God’s intention is not to kill.

In this radicality, Jesus also asks his disciples to invert today’s popular adage that instigates people to live an egocentric life. Humans without God are not free from self-seeking and will to possession. They attempt to satisfy their insatiable desires in vain, resulting in anxiety or escapism. Without knowing their true destiny of union with God, they tend to spend all their efforts for the self-glory of this world. But what Jesus requires of us is to go against the inauthentic trend of obsession with vainglory and egocentricity. Loving our enemies becomes feasible only when we detach ourselves from the sweet illusion of this troublesome world,33) and when we can treat others in a non-possessive, non-instrumentalizing manner.

Thirdly, the love aphorism has a transcendental aspect in terms of its principle and practice. This implies that humans corrupted by sin can fulfil it only when they overcome their instinct34) which gets rid of the obstacles in the way of their interest and happiness. Without rising above their egocentricity and avarice, tainted humanity is utterly helpless in actualizing the sublime telos. Humans need to go beyond the intrinsic limit set by a closed-minded tendency in order to go into ecstasy obeying the command. They also must get over the disposition to make innocent people enemies unconsciously by categorizing them biasedly to experience tangible peace.35)

The aphorism is also transcendental in that its possibility comes from above, that is, the love of God. Therefore, apart from entering into an authentic relation with God, the origin of all good values, we cannot expect to experience the kingdom of God which is characterized by agape. Here, the praxis of agape becomes possible with affectional will that is propelled by recognizing God’s love expressed in the history of Jesus. True love is “more a matter of the will than of the emotions.”36)

Niebuhr finds its possibility in the grace of God. For him, divine love is the source of the achievement of human Bestimmung. It is grace as an expression of God’s love and freedom that “completes what man cannot complete and overcomes the sinful elements in all of man’s achievements.”37) Therefore grace means God’s wisdom transcending all human possibilities. Agape, not reciprocal love, can overcome the limits of history. So he claims, “Mutual love is the harmony of life with life in terms of freedom; and sacrificial love is harmony of the soul with God beyond the limitations of sinful and finite history.”38)

Finally, the love precept is considered adiaphora39) in a soteriological sense. To observe it does not constitute a way to salvation, for it is not a cause but an effect of being saved. It is neutral, indifferent, and unrelated to our salvation. This, of course, does not mean that the command is not important in Christian ethic or Christian manner of life. In fact, we may take it as the final test for the journey of salvation as theosis.40) Christians need to pass through it if they want to become like Jesus who loved and prayed for his enemies as God intended.41)

Even if it is in reality impossible to love our enemies, its praxis is in dire need to enhance the credibility of Christianity and to proclaim the gospel in effective ways. Though the command is deemed secondary regarding salvation, obeying it can add the much-needed element for the Protestant which tend to emphasize sola fide at the expense of practice. For the Reformers, sola fide was the article on which the Church stands or falls. But they did not refute the significance of holy life as a consequence of saving faith. “Luther was one of the first theologians to spark renewed interest in reconnecting faith and everyday life.”42)

Ⅴ. The Rationales for the Primacy of the Love Command

In a biblical sense, Jesus makes it clear that loving our enemies is superior to lex talionis. He highlights this point by articulating his role regarding the laws of the Old Testament (Mt 5:17) and also by comparing the love principle with the retributivism (Mt 5:38-48; Lk 6:27-36). In the former verse, the Lord declares that he came to fulfill the laws, not to abolish it. Then, in the following verses, he gives several examples of its completion expanding their true meanings.

Among the examples, the comparison of the command with lex talionis is meant to be the finishing strokes. Jesus’ novel interpretation of the laws culminates in the new way to treat enemies. Introducing the unparalleled ethic of the kingdom of God, he asks his disciples to excel in showing hospitality to others including personal enemies,43) in resolving vendetta, and in achieving agapeic human relationship. For him, without the presence of praxis of this excellent way, Christians cannot claim any difference or superiority to non-Christians. If they do not surpass the common morality of ‘eye for eye,’ they are not the followers of Jesus because he already did it and requires it now.44) We Christians need to subjugate hate, since that is our first enemy.45)

The Old Testament does not explicitly state the command to love enemies, but speaks out against personal revenge against the neighbor. It goes even further and commands to extend hospitality for our enemy. “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him” (Ex 23:4). “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Prv 25:21). The vengeance motif is introduced in the Old not to secure justice but to highlight an excellent way,46) which radicalizes the common morality of vengeance.47)

The inversion of morality appears in the sayings of the wise person of Proverbs. He urges the readers not to rejoice when their enemies fall (24:17), and not to pay them back for what they did (24:29). In this way, the law of retaliation is revoked for God’s people. The Old Testament also reports the positive effects of showing hospitality to our enemy especially in the book of 2 Kings. When Aram soldiers attacked Israel, God struck them with blindness (6:8-23). Then Elisha the prophet asked Him to open their eyes, and forbade the Israelites from killing them, saying “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master” (6:22). After that, they stopped raiding Israel’s territory. As a result, peace between both sides lasted for some time.

Criticism based on the result also advocates the primacy of the command to love our enemy. For example, the courageous act of Son Yangwon may become a basis for the feasibility and superiority of the greatest conceivable principle for peaceful human society. Son not only forgave the killer of his two sons but also adopted him as his son. If he did not condone him showing no clemency, the killer certainly would have been executed according to the final verdict of the then military tribunal. If his life was not spared, he would not have had an opportunity to experience true love from above. He would have died a miserable death without knowing the power of forgiveness. He should have perished at the prime of his life in meaninglessness, ideological absurdity, and despair. In this sense, the loving approach of Son produced better results than his premature death would have given.

When lex talionis is evaluated from a utilitarian perspective, the primacy of the love command becomes evident too. It is now a time-proven, common sense fact that negative feelings such as anger and vendetta are detrimental to the human body,48) especially to blood pressure and heart health.49) Vengeful spite has destructive effects on psychosomatic health. Enright rightly sees the retaliatory spirit as an inordinate emotional response and as a factor in self-destructive behavior.50) Without venting it appropriately, the excessive feeling usually ends up consuming one’s valuable resource such as time or health.51) As Youngsan contends, unjustified anger engenders negative thinking, and makes right discernment impossible.52)

If it is the case, forgiveness should be conceived as a more practical option than hostility. Forgiving hearts often lead to a liberating experience for those who suffer from the obsession of resentment.53) If forgiveness brings people into psychological satisfaction,54) loving our enemy, a more radical practice, must too contribute effectually to their overall well-being. As Fred Luskin assures, “... feeling more positive emotions such as gratitude, faith, and care has a positive impact on cardiovascular functioning.”55) Forgiving and loving are effective ways to enhance emotional equilibrium. It does so by “replacing subconscious bitterness and resentment with compassionate common sense.”56)

Ⅵ. Conclusion

It seems that lex talionis and the love command run on parallel lines which never meet. Given that human nature is tarnished by sinful disposition, to regard the command as an impossible possibility appears to be a realistic approach, and the retribution law does justice to society which aims to preserve order by deterring crimes. However, the ideal principle is always a possibility to those who strenuously attempt to realize it (Mt 11:12). This is so on two counts. Firstly, humans become dignified and noble when they recognize their origin as Imago Dei. Secondly, they are capable to do what can be achieved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

Accordingly, the reality and primacy of the command are justified. Although human pursuit of peace by obeying it has been frustratingly unsuccessful from time to time, we have a springboard for living out the kingdom of God here and now. Our vision of an irenic society is “something worth fighting for with passion, with insight, and with principle. ... Even if we never arrive at peace as the endpoint to the journey, it will always be a good path on which to travel.”57)

Jesus’ saying itself to love our enemies is an evidence that the loving principle is a more advisable than the retribution principle for the prosperity of human society. History also advocates the view that ‘eye for eye’ method fails to produce the good results humans hope for but tends to cause a vicious circle. Christian experiences adduce the evidences that agape as the law of human destiny works more effectively than the other to attain the ideal of a peaceful world. The constructive way to deal with enemies is also more utilitarian, parsimonious, and efficient in order to cope with the discordancy of humanity.


This paper was supported by the research fund of Sungkyul University, 2019.

5) John Wesley argues for the feasibility based on the nature of a command: “From the very nature of a command, which is not given to the dead, but to the living. Therefore, ‘Thou shalt love God with all thy heart,’ cannot mean, Thou shalt do this when thou diest; but, while thou livest.” See John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (New York: Classic Books America, 2009), 31.
6) This quote is the translation of “Wo die Liebe herrscht da gibt es keinen machtwillen und wo die macht den vorrang hat da fehlt die Liebe Das eine ist der Schatten des andern.” Carl Jung, Über die Psychologie des Unbewussten (Zurich: Rascher Verlag, 1943), 97.
7), accessed April 24, 2019.
8) Jung, Über die Psychologie des Unbewussten, 108. He also observes in a notebook that “I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule―and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness.” Nietzsche, Nachlass, Fall 1880 6 (206).
9) So Nietzsche says, “Even the body within which individuals treat each other as equals ... will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant―not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Walter Kaufmann, tr. (New York: Vintage Books, 1966), §259.
10) Ibid., §260.
11) Nietzsche condemns the triumph of slave morality in the West through developing democracy as the “collective degeneration of man,” and also with conquering the Roman Empire (master morality) by the weak. He regards the democratic movement of his days as slavish and weak., accessed April 27, 2019.
12) See Matt Slick on “Islamic Statistics on violence, rape, terror, Sharia, ISIS, and welfare.”, accessed April 27, 2019.
14) Sharia is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretation,, accessed May 3, 2019.
16) Ibid., 117.
17) As Seong-Hun Choi claims, “The kingdom of the world utilizes only temporal authority to restrain evildoing and maintain order.” Seong-Hun Choi, “Christian Unification Education of Pentecostal Theology and Juche Ideology,” Journal of Youngsan Theology, Vol. 37 (2016): 204.
19) So Strong argues, “Those who have any sensibility of conscience feel that an unconditional pardon, while the offender remains incorrigible, would be an outrage upon all propriety.” James Strong, Irenics: A Series of Essays Showing the Virtual Agreement Between (New York: Trieste, 2017), 196.
20) In this sense, Korea’s future would be bleak if her people do not overcome their anger and conflict, which were engendered in the process of modernization and democratization. Dongwhan Lim, “Forgiveness Study of Rev. Youngsan Yonggi Cho,” Journal of Youngsan Theology, Vol. 35 (2015): 233.
22) Thus the writer of Ecclesiastes wisely proclaims, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes” (Eccl 7:18).
23) Lederach, Preparing for Peace, 21.
25) David Barash and Charles Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2009), 60. At the same page, the writers quote Chalmers Johnson as saying, “These moments of lashing out, of course, only prepare the ground for yet another cycle of blowback.”
26) Ibid., 60-61.
27) Piper, Love Your Enemies, 64.
30) Youngsan thus argues that authentic forgiveness is made possible by God in the cross of Jesus Christ. See Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimensional Spirituality (Seoul: Church Growth Institute, 2004), 25.
31) Klassen, Love of Enemies, 84.
32) We can find the idea of ‘loving others unconditionally’ not only in Exodus 23:4-5, Proverbs 25:21-22, 2 Kings 6:21-23, and also in the concept of maitri-karuna which means ‘universal sympathy for all the living things.’
33) Meister Eckhart aptly points out this aspect of detachment for a theocentric life. See Rik Van Nieuwenhove, An Introduction to Medieval Theology (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 272-74.
34) In reality, “it is hard not to hate our enemies. When we are hurt, we automatically feel victimized and respond with anger, hatred, or fear.” Salzberg and Thurman, Love Your Enemies, 3.
35) Humans tend to categorize people and to treat them accordingly. As Yusuf says, “Another characteristic of conflicts ... is the propensity to demonize others. One way we do this is by lumping others into lifeless categories―bigoted Whites, for example, lazy blacks, crass Americans, arrogant Europeans, violent Arabs, manipulative Jews, and so on. When we do this, we make masses of unknown people into objects and many of them into our enemies.” The Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict (Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2015), 57.
38) Ibid., 78, 68ff. Also see the same book vol. 1, 146ff.
39) Matt Slick explains, “In Christianity, adiaphora means that something is debatable, spiritually neutral. There are essentials of the Christian faith such as the deity of Christ, monotheism, Christ’s physical resurrection, etc. But there are also topics that deal with issues that are non-essentials.”, accessed May 8, 2019.
40) This word, theosis, means ‘union with God’ or deification. It is a main principle of Orthodox Christianity to emphasize the process of salvation.
41) It is the ultimate test in that “one’s final eschatological blessing is in some sense dependent upon one’s obedience to the command of enemy love.” Piper, Love Your Enemies, 173.
43) When Jesus says, “love your enemies,” they are not meant to be political or national enemies, but personal ones. See Klassen, Love of Enemies, 85.
44) Ibid., 87.
45) Cho, The Fourth Dimensional Spirituality, 198. Youngsan’s idea of the fourth dimensional spirituality needs to be applied to conquer anger and revenge among people. See Dongwhan Lim, “The Future of Youngsan Yonggi Cho’s Theology: Forgiveness through the Fourth Dimensional Spirituality,” Journal of Youngsan Theology, Vol. 38 (2016): 228.
46) Klassen, Love of Enemies, 28.
47) Thus Salzberg claims, “When we refuse to return anger with anger, when we reject the belief that revenge is our only option, we step out of our moral matrix into a limitless world of enlightened choice.” Salzberg and Thurman, Love Your Enemies, xvi.
48) “According to neuroscientific studies, it also harms our health by releasing noxious chemicals such as cortisol into our bloodstream, which damage our circulatory system.” Ibid., 10.
50) Ibid., 48.
51) Salzberg and Thurman, Love Your Enemies, 10.
52) Cho, The Fourth Dimensional Spirituality, 113.
54) Some may assert that retribution also satisfy our desire for justice. However, “The kind of happiness we associate with destroying our enemies is false happiness because it is temporary.” Salzberg and Thurman, Love Your Enemies, xxi.


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