Matthew 5:43-47 (The Message Bible)
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any [body can do] that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, ‘It takes strength to love’ those who don’t love you. When Jesus admonished us to love one’s enemy he was ‘not an impractical idealist…[but a] practical realist.
‘Jesus the Christ understood that love is the key to set both the oppressed and the oppressor free.’ Sheila McKeithen
- What is love?
- It is a spiritual gift that must be developed.
- It operates through the emotions but it is more than an emotion.
- Love heals, redeems, harmonizes, cooperates, serves, and attracts.
- It works best when coupled with wisdom.
- Love is strongest when:
- It loves for the sake of loving.
- It persists in the face of seeming trouble.
- It seeks not its own, but harmony of the whole.
- It is not envious, loud, rude, or boastful
‘We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.’
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love