5. Love Your Enemies
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Probably one of the hardest ways to love is to love your enemies (or those we deem unlovable). It’s truly not that hard to love people who love you back. But what about loving people who choose not to love you back? This is what God does all day, every day.
God continues to love people, many of whom refuse or have no interest in loving him back. If you go back to the earlier understanding of who we are to love, Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. Guess who falls into the category of your neighbor? Your enemies and those who seem unlovable. I know you don’t want to think of them as your neighbor, but they are. Let’s take it one step further.
Sometimes we forget that we were once unlovable. Not to our “neighbors” (even though some of us were) but to God. Our sin made us enemies of God and he didn’t let that get in the way of love.
He first loved us when we were in our worst condition:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
If you’re looking for a way to love the way he first loved us—then you must love your enemies. By the way, enemies can have different lifestyle choices, different doctrinal beliefs, or different political affiliations. They may think differently than you, serve a different god than you, or may not even believe in God at all. Yet we must still love them.
After all, they are your neighbor; and you must love them as you love yourself.
Love Is the Great Challenge
I hope you see by now love is a great challenge. If you’re really going to love the way he first loved us, you are going to need some help. Here’s the good news, you have the Holy Spirit. This means you don’t have to try to conjure up love in your own strength or ability. You simply have to allow the Spirit of God in you to flow out of you.
Galatians reminds us that one of the fruit or characteristics of the Holy Spirit is love. It makes sense because God is love. This means God has given you the capacity and the way to love just as he first loved us. He will do the work in you and through you; all you have to do is allow him to do it.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. – Ezekiel 36:26-27
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This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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