“Master, which is the great Commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart … And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36-39).
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Nothing reveals our desperate need for God’s grace and God’s mercy than our total inability–no matter how hard we might try–to obey the Great Commandment to love God with every fiber of our beings, every day of our lives, and that second commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves. And, to make matters worse, add to that to love our enemies!
Over the past few weeks–actually longer than that–I have been pondering the “Refugee Crisis” quite a bit. In fact, I have posted two posts on the topic, and will be posting another one either today or tomorrow. At the same time, I have been pondering this matter of loving others with the love of God-including our enemies.
This is really a huge issue!!!
I think you would agree with me, it’s also a very difficult command to keep. As one author noted:
“See, the command that Jesus gives us to LOVE OUR ENEMIES is intended not only to CHANGE THE HEARTS OF SINNERS, but to CHANGE OUR OWN HEARTS AS WELL. We cannot LOVE LIKE JESUS LOVES on our own. The only way we can FOLLOW JESUS and obey His command to love those who are trying to harm us is if we TAKE UP OUR CROSS DAILY, DIE TO OURSELVES, THROW OURSELVES COMPLETELY AT HIS FEET, and BEG TO BE FILLED WITH HIS LOVE for our enemies. It just won’t work any other way!”
If we are going to love others, especially our “enemies,” we are going to have to allow God to love them through us!