Are We Really To Love Everyone?

Author: Michael Heiden

God is Love and He invites us to love everyone. But does love everyone, mean 'everyone'? I mean I'm good with loving most of my family members and neighbors. I'm good trying to love God with all I've got...but I'm not sure I want to love people who are against me, who are my enemies. I don't want to give them love and frankly they don't deserve it.

In one of his most challenging teachings, Jesus puts it very plainly, "Love your enemies..." (Luke 6:27). So the short answer to the above question is 'Yes' everyone means everyone...even our enemies...those who we perceive are against us.

I think innately we can determine who we perceive our enemies to be and often they fall into these categories:
  • Your Enemy can be anyone who does not share your values or beliefs.
  • Your Enemy can be anyone who does not treat you with respect and care for your well-being.
  • Your Enemy is any person who works against the common good of you or society as a whole.
     
Is it even possible to do this? In one sense, on our own, absolutely not. It goes against everything in us. But we are not on our own. We are following Jesus and in Him all things are possible. And this is possible because we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
The type of love in which we received is exactly what He is asking of us. Jesus loved his enemies. Romans 5 says it this way, "...8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us...10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

So, yes we can love our enemies with the love we've received from Jesus. What does it look like to love your enemy? Jesus says it looks like this in Luke 6:
  • Pray for them.
  • Bless them.
  • Turn the other cheek.
  • Give if in need without expecting anything in return.
  • Do good towards them.
  • Be merciful as as your Father in Heaven is merciful.

In Michigan I worked with a retired pastor named Pastor Mike and i remember him consoling and counseling a member who had a very antagonistic family member (you may have one of those in your family). This member was very upset, angry and at the end of their rope on what to do. Pastor Mike's advice was simple but difficult, 'Love your enemy.' He invited her to simply begin by just praying for this family member. Not a prayer for them to change or see their fault....but a prayer for their well being, for them to be blessed, for them to know and experience the depth of Jesus love.

So here is my challenge for you:
  • Recognize an antagonist or enemy in your life.
  • Read Luke 6:27-35.
  • Receive the love of Jesus, who loved you while you were His enemy.
  • Really love them by first simply praying for them.