For some of us the concept of loving others is easy. We love our family members. We love our significant others and our children. We love our friends…but do you love your enemies??? That’s a big question to ask yourself this Valentine’s Day.
That’s the focus of my devotional for today — Loving Our Enemies.
Matthew 5:43-48 New International Version (NIV)
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
From my observation after reading this scripture this morning, I can say that God wants us to love ALL of his people even if they are against us. It is so easy to love the people who love you back and show you kindness. It’s way harder and takes much more discipline to love someone who hates you or is trying to take you down. If you can accomplish this, then you are displaying true agape love. In biblical terms, the Hebrews & Greeks had a different word for each type of love.
“Agape” (“agapao” in Greek) is the highest form of love in existence. It is the love that God (a perfect being) has for His people as well as the love that God’s people (unworthy) have for Him. It is mentioned many times in the New Testament, but I always refer to the scripture John 3:16 when I think of agape love. This is the most perfect type of love. God gave his one and only son as a living, holy sacrifice so that sinners like you and I could repent and be given a new life. How awesome is that?
So, look at your past. Think of the sins that you have committed in your life or areas where you have fallen short. God still loves you enough to make the ultimate sacrifice (literally) for you. So, don’t you think that our enemies who sin against us deserve the same opportunity? After all, we are/were sinners too.
So, I am going to start making a real effort to show love to my “enemies” and not just any love, God’s love. The thing is this, if you fight evil with evil then there is no justice or righteousness. However, if you shine your light even in the darkest of situations (which is when you need light the most) and just pay back evil with God’s love and grace then what will that person see? They will see that they cannot affect your happiness and joy. They will see that you have something greater and they will want a part of that. This may be the way that you lead someone to Christ.
Think about it.
So, I challenge you for all of February (as well as myself) to show love to your “enemies” and shine your light so that it illuminates all of the darkest areas of your life.