The Challenge to Love

(Luke 6:35) “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (v.36) Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (v.37) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (v.38) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

In our Wednesday night Men’s Class we were discussing the topic of “love.” Not the mushy, warm fuzzy natural love we have for our spouse, children and friends, but the difficult kind of love that we are commanded to have toward our enemies. I mean really, who wants to love your enemies? Who wants to be nice to those who are rude, unkind and malicious? I certainly don’t. The command to love your enemies is followed by the reminder that GOD is good and merciful to the “ungrateful and wicked.”

Glenn Parnell sent me the Scripture above and wrote me in a text on Thursday morning, “The task for us is to forget our feelings and emotions and ask GOD to fill us with His kind of love. That kind [of love] is loving others even when it hurts, and forgiving them ‘for they know not what they do.’! I think that is what most all of us have such a hard time doing. I can hear GOD saying, ‘Trust me. Do it because I tell you too. After all, I loved you.’” Well said Glenn.

Forgiving others starts with remembering how much GOD has forgiven me. My rebellion, my disobedience, my evil thoughts and actions.  The promise in this text is an abundance of GOD’s blessings. I’m sure this includes releasing anger, resentment and bitterness that tends to eat us from the inside out. It’s easy to love those who love us. Jesus made that point in the “Sermon on the Mount.” “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? (Matt. 5:46-47). True agape love is a decision, a choice we make to be kind to those who are unkind to us. Truly, real love is a challenge!

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