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Why Must I Love My Enemies?

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(Editor's Note: This blog was written by Adam Borcicky who is interning with The Stand's Engage division.)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV)

In today’s world, there is a huge pandemic. A pandemic far worse than COVID-19 or the flu. A pandemic where 100% of human beings are infected from birth. This pandemic is known to all Christian as sin. Sin causes death, and Jesus Christ is the only cure. (Romans 6:23)

Sadly, the symptoms of sin are division, hatred, and confusion. Sin is the reason wars break out, civil injustice, and identity crises. We want the world to know Christianity as a religion of love. However, if we do not call them by the correct pronoun, stand with them politically, or accept their lifestyle, then they claim that we do not love them. The world has perverted the word love. If we do not give them what they believe to be love, we are the enemy.

Let us look at that what God’s love truly is and how we are to apply it in the world.

What Love is Not

…[L]ove does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity… (1 Corinthians 13:4b-6a NKJV).

Before we can understand what love is, we need to know what it is not. Contrary to the world’s ideas, love is not accepting a certain belief or behavior. When we allow someone to continue living in sin, we are saying, “I am glad you are making your life miserable.” Now say that aloud. That sounds hateful, doesn’t it? You would never say that to anyone. But that is what we are doing.

Love is not rude. As Christians, we should not bash down lost people. I see it all over social media – professing Christians posting hateful comments on lost people’s posts. Though we may not agree with them, it is wrong to display hatred towards them. As Jesus spoke on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:24 NKJV) If Jesus was not rude or hateful, what makes us think we can be?

What Love Is

Love suffers long and is kind […] but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4a, 6b-8a).

Love is a choice. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them one rule: Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:17) If He did not give them that one rule, they would have worshipped Him robotically, with no will. Instead, He gave them a choice; to follow Him or not. Unfortunately, they chose to sin.

This is true even today. God allows the lost to live in sin. He also allows Christians to continue to sin at times. We do not have the power to remove someone’s will to sin, but we should rather share the gospel and call them to repentance.

How Do You Love

It may seem confusing how to love when we have so many voices defining what love is. The world tells us love is acceptance of sin. Our fleshly desires tell us to be harsh and lash out. But the Bible tells us a different story. God shows us exactly how to love. Because God is love (1 John 4:16), we can rest assured that He knows a thing or two about loving others.

In the biblical story where Jesus was approached by the Pharisees with the adulterous woman, He did not ridicule her as the Pharisees did but instead set her free. He said these words which should also be our mindset, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11 NKJV) We should not go out and condemn sinners but share the gospel with them. Simply put, we should love the sinner, not the sin. Our sinful nature tries to confuse the two.

We can show love to the lost world and our enemies without condoning their lifestyle – and we can do this through the power of God. He will give us the knowledge and wisdom to deal with difficult people and situations. Let us seek the Lord today. Be in prayer and allow Him to give you the words and actions of love. Let Him teach you how to be gentle, yet truthful to the lost world.

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