Friday, April 9, 2021

Learning to Love Your Enemies


“There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT

I cannot read this verse anymore without remembering September 11, 2001.  One evening a couple months after this horrible day in American history, I watched the Country Music Awards, and Alan Jackson performed his “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?” for the first time on the live broadcast.  

Tears streamed down my face as I listened to the song, reflecting back on the morning I saw images of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. The song’s chorus includes part of this verse, and applying this verse to the context of 9/11 is profound. If love is the greatest pursuit, the terrorists had it completely backward.

God himself is love; the three persons of the godhead exist in a perfect love relationship. It utterly amazes me that God wanted to create people—who he knew would fail him—expressly so he could lavish his love upon us.  

That’s exactly what he wants us to do for each other: if our hearts are right with God, his love overflows our hearts, and we can share it with other people. Jesus’ earthly life was a nonstop love story for each person he encountered, even his enemies.

 I’m nowhere near where I need to be in loving other people. But the more I get to know God, the easier I find it to show love to even the most difficult people in my life.  

When I ask God to teach me to see others the way he sees them, one of the first things I see is how much he loves every single person he’s created.  

It’s kind of how I feel about my children. I love them each with the same fierce, smitten love that only a mother has, but I treat them uniquely according to their needs and personalities. Even on awful days, I never stop loving them, and nothing they ever do will cause me to stop loving them.  

That’s how God feels too, even about terrorists and others hell-bent on rejecting him. I can’t really comprehend that, but I know it’s true.

It’s tempting for me to want to share my love only with those who love me back. But it wouldn’t be showing love the way that Jesus did, so I’m working on loving my enemies. I do this mostly through forgiveness and prayer, and sometimes acts of kindness. 

I don’t want to miss an opportunity to show them the kind of love that could point them toward eternity. As difficult as it is, I know it’s what God wants me to do, and I can’t refuse him.

Why are these three—faith, hope, and love—the things that will endure? Because relationships are all we will take with us into eternity. Our faith in the one true God, our hope in his promises, and our love for him and for other people—that is what will last. Nothing else really matters!

In what ways can your love for God and others, even for difficult people, grow this week?

Check out my most popular post on loving difficult people HERE.

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Have a blessed weekend!

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