“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:28-28 NKJV
If you continue reading Luke 6 it goes on to ask, “if you only love those who love you what credit is that to you?” The true test comes when we love the unlovable. You know, that person who makes you cringe when they walk into the room. Let’s face it, this kind of love does not come natural to most of us. While I can’t think of anyone I personally consider an “enemy”, I can think of a few who rub me the wrong way. I am sad to say most of the time I fail the love test around those people. Are we really being honest when we say, “I love them, but I sure don’t like them”?
What does love really look like? A look at 1 Corinthians 13 shows me just how far I have to go, to love like Jesus.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
Why do you suppose Jesus asks us to do something so radical? I believe it is because He knows how powerful undeserved love is. That’s what sent Him to the cross. The longing to be loved is a basic human need. The worst punishment you can give a prisoner is solitary confinement.
I am thankful I serve a savior who tells me to love my enemies. Too many wars have been waged in the name of religion, including Christianity. Jesus came to show us a new way. The way of love.
As we close today, I want to challenge you to think of the person you find most difficult to love and ask God how you can impact their life by offering unconditional love. You might be astounded at the reconciliation God brings to pass through your obedience.