Love Your Enemies

Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 5:43-48

Last Wednesday, I was struck by a thought I had never truly considered.  Many of us have heard and love the verse from Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”  We love it because it is God redeeming from sin and welcoming us as His children.  But would we expect anything less from the God who is love?  Of course not!  By the time this verse came our way, we knew that God was gracious and loving, even while we were lost sinners.  But have you ever paused to really consider what this verse tells us?  Have you ever truly thought of yourself as God’s enemy?

When I think of an enemy, a few images pop into my head, and they are all bad.  Images may range from the villain in a movie, all the way to the extreme terrorists doing evil all across the earth.  The thought that convicted me so greatly when I considered what an enemy is and looks like is this:  Would I do anything to save these enemies?  To be completely honest, I could not answer that question.  I knew I should say yes, but I was not able to say it and completely mean it.  Not only could I not answer the question about saving them, I completely and fully said no to the thought of sacrificing my own child in order to save them.  In the depths of my heart, I love my daughter too much, and I don’t think these terrorists are worth the life of my child.  She is my child, and they are my enemies; there is no question of their fate if it is left up to me.

If you share that same thought process with me, look back at Romans 5:10.  While we were God’s enemies, He loved us enough to send His Son to die so that we could be saved.  What an amazing love this is!  Take some time to wrestle with this, because God loved us so deeply when we were His enemies.  The love of God is so great that He sent Jesus to earth knowing that the very people He had made would murder His Son.  The Son loved humanity so much that He lovingly laid down His life for our salvation.  We praise and worship Christ because He laid down His life to save us, as well as He took it back up to give us a hope of resurrection.  This is good news, but it becomes even better when you realize that God did this for His enemies.  Heavenly Father, help us to grasp and experience the depth of your love!

Call to Action:  God’s love was strong enough to reach out and save us while we were still His enemies.  This love has forever changed our lives, and I hope that we all grow a deeper appreciation and reverence for God’s love.  In light of God loving us while we were His enemies, it makes Jesus teaching in Matthew 5 so much richer.  He taught us to love our enemies and persecutors, all the while He was a living example of it.  As the people of God, we have experienced the most amazing love there has ever been or will ever be.  How can we withhold this love from a world lost in sin and hopelessness?  May we learn from our Savior’s love, and be imitators of Him.  Love every person you meet, even your worst enemy.  Nobody is beyond the reach of God’s amazing, transforming love.  We all are examples of what His love can do.  Love people in such a way that they see and experience the love of Christ through you.