“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28 ESV).
In the world around us today, and sadly even within the church, it is so common to hear people say things like, “I just don’t love him any more…” Or, “There’s just no love in my heart for that person…” Could it be that we really have no idea what love is?
In Greek there are many different words for love, and each of them represent a different type of love. There’s family-relational type love, there’s romantic type love, there’s sacrificial love, and the like… And while there’s some overlap between these types of love, there’s one type of love that we are to always have as Christians; it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about love for a child, a spouse, a fellow church member, our neighbor, or even our enemies, and that’s the love we see here in Luke 6.
Notice how Jesus unpacks what this love looks like that can love even an enemy: it’s a love that does good though they hate, it’s a love that blesses though they curse, it’s a love that prays for though they abuse… In other words it’s a Christlike love. Is this not exactly what Jesus did when He loved us and gave Himself for us? He loved His enemies (sinful rebels like you and me), by doing the ultimate good for us who hated Him by living for us, suffering God’s wrath for us, dying for us, and rising again to save us and reconcile us to God. He blessed us who cursed Him by becoming a curse for us so that we could be eternally blessed. And even as He was being nailed to the cross and abused by sinful God haters He prayed for them and asked God to forgive them.
The love we see here is agapelove: which is divine love characterized by sacrifice for another person’s good. And that’s exactly how we are called to love all people, even our enemies—with a love that sacrifices our pride and our desire for revenge or retribution; with a love that dies to self and even sacrifices self if need be for the good of another, especially the ultimate good of seeing them reconciled to God through Christ. So love is not just some emotion that we can gain or lose at the drop of a hat; love is an action… a Christlike action… And because Christ loved us this way we canlove this way too… So let’s give ourselves to doing just that…
I am nothing; Christ is all!