If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. (Exodus 23:5)
I haven’t seen too many donkeys collapsing under the weight of a heavy load, but the picture is certainly an interesting one. I can’t imagine leaving such a donkey by the side of the road even if it did belong to my enemy. But then again, I’ve never been in this sort of a circumstance.
This very practical law came as a precursor to the Golden Rule that Jesus would later teach on: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If your donkey were hurt along the road, then you’d hope that even your enemy would come to its aid. The whole basis of Christianity is giving people what they don’t deserve.
Certainly your enemy may not deserve your benevolence, but God reminded His people that they weren’t to play tit for tat.
In giving this law, God instructed people to be good neighbors – to strive to look out for the needs of everyone… even for the needs of their enemies.
The next time you’re tempted to ignore your enemy’s disabled donkey by the side of the road, remember that God didn’t ignore you in your time of need. In fact, while you were still an enemy of His, He sent Christ to die on a cross so you might be made right with Him.
Father, it’s so easy to wish ill upon those who have caused me trouble, but such an attitude is not of You. Give me a love for those who hurt me and a generous spirit toward my enemies. In doing so, let them see Christ in me.