Jesus commanded us to love: “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35).
Jesus called us to love, not because it is easy, but because it is essential. God is love. To know God is to know love. To grow in God is to grow in our expression of love. Sadly, when we champion truth, we frequently forget or reject the notion of genuinely loving our enemies. Too often we limit our love to individuals we think are deserving. However, when we limit the expression of God’s love, we demonstrate that we don’t begin to truly know love or know God. God’s love topples every effort towards religious favoritism. God’s love is not a reward for our good works. God’s love is an expression of his goodness. While we are sinners, he loves us. While we are enemies, he loves us. While we withhold our love, he pours out his love on all flesh. God is love and God loves us equally.
People love to champion truth. We love to point out the hypocrisies and failings of others. But we don’t love to genuinely love. At least when it comes to our enemies. Consternation under the guise of righteous anger seems so much more satisfying than genuine love. Even so, you can hide out in righteous anger for a season, but if you don’t learn to love your enemies, you’ll become a bitter reaction. They’ll know that your righteous crusade is not based on love. It will show and they will know that you do not love, nor want to love your enemies.
It is not a little thing to love while speaking the truth; it is, in fact, everything. If it is the ministry of Christ, it will be rooted in genuine love for both friends and enemies. Love loves every person, on every side. Love has one side, the side of love. The side that brings every person the good news of God’s love. Consequently, our greatest conflicts are our greatest opportunity to learn the immeasurable depths and power of God’s love. It takes courage to love in the midst of relational chaos. It is a brave thing to love those who do not love you. It is an expression of Christ in our midst. To love our enemies is to manifest the presence of Christ. To love our enemies is to testify of the power of the cross. A power that defeated the enemies of God through love.
We are called to love, not because it is easy, but because it is essential. When we love, we demonstrate that we are sons and daughters of the Most High. We demonstrate that there is room for more brothers and sisters in the house of God. We love our enemies with the sincere goal of someday becoming eternal friends. Love your enemies.