But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35, 36 ESV)
A. Love your enemies!
1 : one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent
2 : something harmful or deadly
3 a : a military adversary b : a hostile unit or force
How is it possible to love an enemy?
Choices are within our control. No one can be our enemy unless we choose for them to be our enemy. Someone else may label us as the enemy, but no one can be our enemy without our consent.
Who is it that you are choosing to allow to hurt you? Yes, there are those who seek to harm you physically. These actions may be beyond your control. Can you remove yourself from the situation? How can someone like this be loved?
Love for enemies comes not from the heart but from the will. We choose to love someone our hearts don't even like.
There are many stories about those who have been horribly wronged by someone and have gone on to offer forgiveness to that person. It is so hard for my human mind to accept this, yet God expects us to forgive everyone.
Again it is a choice that you make.
What is the worst, most awful thing that has ever been done to you? How have you dealt with that? Have you forgiven? Can you imagine forgiving?
I am reminded of three young women that were kidnapped, held captive and abused in many horrific ways by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, OH. Their torment by him lasted over a decade.
Upon their escape and his capture one of the women said at his trial, "You took 11 years of my life away. I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that has happened, but you will face hell for eternity. I will live on, you will die a little every day as you think of the 11 years of atrocities that you inflicted on us...I can forgive you, but I will never forget."
Another of the women said that she wanted to forget about all of it and just on with the living of her life.
I CANNOT IMAGINE what or how they must feel. But I do know how very hard it would be to think about forgiving someone like him, and to actually LOVE him, well, I have a hard time doing that just by hearing of his actions.
Yet God expects it. He commands it.
So, can you love someone that even your heart doesn't like?
Can you look at an enemy with the same kind of eyes with which God looks at you?
Take a close look at the picture I chose to go with this writing. Do you see it? Do you get it? The heart around the words are formed from fishing hooks! We are to be fishers of men.
God's love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation is for EVERYONE. If we can't, won't or don't reel in the unlovable, what kind of Christian are we?
Later this week I will talk about these subjects in our verses.
B. Do good
C. Lend, expecting nothing back
D. Be merciful (kind to the ungrateful and evil)