By Khoo Tze Wei
Many of us are familiar with this command by Jesus to love our enemies.
Matt 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
The command states that we ought to love, bless, do good and pray for our enemies. However, do we actually practice it? Or do we merely say it is a difficult thing to do and excuse ourselves from doing it? In fact, let’s extend the scope of our reasoning. Though Jesus asks of us to love one another,
John 15: 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Aren’t there brethren who we just cannot get along with, let alone love them or die for them?
What are some reasons we give to justify that it’s too difficult to love these people?
1) We shouldn’t need to love people
who “curse, hate, spitefully use,
persecute” us. (Matt 5:44)
2) We shouldn’t need to love people who hurt us, disappoint us, fail us.
3) We shouldn’t need to love people who just don’t deserve it.
These all seem like very acceptable reasons. However, if we accept these reasons as justification to not love people we deem unlovable, then we should also accept that God shouldn’t love us for those exact same reasons.
1) We were all once enemies of God; alienated, hostile, doing evil deeds, yet He showed His love by sending Jesus to die for us. (Rom 5:8-10, Col 1:20-22)
2) We have all failed God before. We all have sinned, yet He forgives us when we walk in the light and confess our sins. (Rom 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10, Eph 2:1-5)
3) We did not do anything to earn or deserve God’s grace, yet He gifted it to us. (Rom 11:6, Titus 3:3-5, Eph 2:8-9)
We reason that we can excuse ourselves from loving those who hate us, hurt us, fail us, or don’t deserve it. Yet we don’t realize that in spite of these same reasons, God still loves us. Will we be hypocrites? Will we claim God’s love for our unlovable selves but hold back our love from people we deem unlovable?
Let’s stop telling ourselves it’s too difficult to love our enemies, brethren who we don’t get along with, or just generally anyone we may deem unlovable. Realize that we have been extended this great love from God and He asks that you extend the same to others. Will you not do it?