“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.”
– Jesus (Luke 6: 27-28)
There are some people who behave in a way that makes us wonder, “do they really deserve this? Will it do any good?”
Sadly, our world today contains people so depraved they’re beyond saving – not to say that Jesus couldn’t save them, but that they would never choose Him based on the life they’re living.
I don’t think Jesus gave us this instruction solely to benefit these kinds of people.
I think this instruction was given as much for us as it is for them.
It’s our protection against pride.
It’s an enabler of love in us – showing us how to dispense of God’s love no matter how much or how little someone else deserves it.
If they benefit from that, great.
If they don’t, someone else will.
You certainly will – the more love that flows you, the better.
God certainly will – He IS love and bringing Him into more situations can only be a good thing to Him
Others will – the example you set in front of your friends, family and others may spread love instead of further animosity.
Our sole job here on earth is to live a life worthy of Heaven – which comes down to how much we love.
We’re living in times where more people than ever may look at us differently, disagree (strongly) with what we stand for, hate our choices and our faith – and they get this across in an ugly way.
Sometimes it’s directed at us, more often we see it directed at others like us and we take it upon ourselves.
These are the exact occasions that Jesus was referring to when he points us back at the need to love.
Simply put – to love is to will the good of the other. That’s all.
Someone hurt you? Desire their good anyway – maybe they won’t hurt others afterward.
Someone offends you? Desire their good anyway – perhaps their eyes will be open and they’ll be more careful with their speech to others.
Someone humiliates you? Desire their good anyway – maybe they’ll realise they’re not perfect either.
The outcome is not the reason to love – YOUR outcome is the reason to love.
Our media and pop culture tries so hard to divide us – to get everyone to look at others as being different and “wrong”.
When we respond to this behaviour with love and the genuine desire to bring love into the conversation rather than division, we break this cycle.
Loving another does not mean approving of that person’s choices.
Don’t confuse loving your enemy with approving what they stand for.
Judging an action as being good or sinful is not the same as judging the person.
We know we are not called to be their judges, but we are called to call out sin when it’s present.
We have more than enough examples in Jesus’ life to reinforce this. He sought out the sinful and broken and brought them love while still being clear on the kind of lives they were called to live and never backed down from calling out sin when it was present.
In fact, by rejecting the sin for what it is, we’re expanding our love for the person by challenging them to reconcile with God.
We each need to discern whether we’re the ones to challenge this person or if the Holy Spirit is calling another, but that shouldn’t stop us from desiring good for them – especially praying for their eyes to be opened to the path God desires.
As you go up against a society hell bent on dividing, debating and debasing – keep this clear instruction from Jesus in mind and do all that you can to direct your heart towards love.
Whether they deserve it or not
Whether it’ll make a difference in their life or not.
It matters to God and so it should matter to you.