Loving our enemies is the most difficult call that the Lord has laid upon us. It is hard for us to seek justice in a manner that is not vindictive or that truly wishes for an offender to benefit as a result of his punishment. Books like Lamentations show us that rejoicing in justice and righteousness do not preclude mourning for those who suffer because of their sin. Loving sinners means that we seek justice when appropriate, but it also means that we mourn for those who have gone astray.
John Calvin comments that the way to peace with God is “sincerely to confess that we are justly visited by his judgment, and also to lie down as it were confounded, and at the same time to venture to look up to him, and to rely on his mercy with confidence.” Speaking for Jerusalem, Jeremiah confessed the people’s sins and then asked the Lord to keep his covenant promises to protect the remnant. We, too, are to confess our sins and appeal to the Lord’s promise to save us in Christ.