Matthew 5:43-48, and again in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus is teaching us to love our enemies. We can say the words ‘I love you’, without meaning what we say. We can say it as easily as saying “Hello”, or ‘Goodbye’. We are being polite, but we are not truly caring about the other person. Now this is where it is going to get harder, ‘Love your enemy, bless those who persecute and you’. I have tried over and over again in this area and failed miserably, so what I am writing is for myself and anyone else who struggles with this.
I have been thinking a lot about Jonah lately. He was a man God used to save the people of Nineveh. Yet he did so unwillingly. He tried to run from His purpose of giving the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. To say that he did not like them is being kind. He wanted them to be condemned for how they lived. He had passed judgment on them and thought they deserved what was coming to them. So he ran in the other direction, and ended up in the belly of a whale, that spit him up on the shore of Nineveh. He told the people to repent for God’s judgment was at hand, and they did. This did not make Jonah happy though. He sat outside the city angry and wanting to die. Even though the people had repented and God showed mercy, Jonah had no love or mercy for the peopl of Nineveh.
How many times have we turned and gone another direction because we did not like what a person or group was living without taken the time to give the message of God’s love, and the price Jesus paid to show us how much He loves us? Yes there are those who we have shared God’s Word and love with who rejected what we had to say and even turned against us. Yet how many people do we reject? We don’t like how they dress, talk, live or their beliefs’. Is this a spirit of humility? Are we so much better than we can turn our backs on them?
There are people in my life currently that I have a hard time dealing with, from their behavior and vulgar language to their hateful attitude and I must admit that even though I have been polite, I have wanted to take a gallon of Dawn dish soap and a toilet brush to their mouth. this is not a loving attitude and I know it. I also have had people in my life that I have shared the Word of God with and His love who are members of a church who have not only rejected me but cursed me and slandered my name while living in adultery. Do I forgive the one who is attacking me personally and yet judge the other because they do not attend church? Or should I love them as Jesus loves them. It is not up to me or you to change how they live, but to introduce them to the only true love that can transform their lives as He is continuing to mold us into His image.