“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:32-35
“I love you” is a term that is carelessly used in the world today. Most define love as a feeling, something you can fall in and out of throughout your life. But God does not define love in this way.
In this passage, Jesus compared worldly love and godly love. One is based on the actions of another. Godly love is given regardless of if the other deserves it or not. Even someone without Christ can love someone who loves him. But it takes the supernatural power and presence of the Holy Spirit to love the unlovable…to love someone who is un-loving towards you.
And yet, this is how Christ has called His disciples to love. He wants us to love others with the same grace and mercy with which He has loved us. That requires more than candy hearts and boxes of chocolate. For some, loving those who haven’t earned it may mean loving your spouse or other family members. For others, it might be co-workers, neighbors, or even fellow church members. “Enemies” are not necessarily those who physically come against us, but also those who have betrayed our trust and hurt us emotionally.
Unconditional love is no small task. It is in our nature to protect ourselves from physical and emotional harm. But Jesus showed us how to lay our lives down for others for the sake of the Gospel. This does not mean staying in an abusive relationship. It does mean putting the needs of others before our own. This does not mean self-loathing. It does mean exalting Christ, and seeing ourselves, and others, through His eyes.
It is easy for us to give up on people who are selfish and cruel. But with Jesus there are no lost causes, because with God, all things are possible.
Dear God, Thank You for loving me when I was Your enemy. Please help me to love others well. May Your enemies see Your love through my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.