Love? Really?

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?…And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?  Matthew 5:43-47 ESV

I have to be honest.  I struggle with this.  So if you’re reading, help me out!  I don’t struggle with the reading of the text.  I’ve done that many times.  What I struggle with is, so what does it mean?  I mean, love your enemies?  Here is what I specifically struggle with:

1.  My enemy doesn’t have my best interest in mind.

2.  In fact, my enemy wants to do me harm.

3.  Harm comes in a variety of ways: physical harm, emotional harm, spiritual harm.

4.  So what does it mean to love?

Here’s where I’m at.  In other words, you might ask me six months from now, and I’ll think otherwise.  But for now:

1.  Jesus says to love.  I need to define that and obey.

2.  If my enemy wants to do me harm, why would I “hang out?”

3.  I can love from a distance. (This is where the rub is.)

Paul and Barnabas separated over a disagreement (Acts 15).  Paul tells the church in Corinth, “…deliver this man to Satan…”  Where’s the love and grace there?

If we live by What glorifies God? it makes a huge difference.  In other words, why stay in a relationship that is unhealthy?  Hurtful?  etc.  Relationships take trust.  And once that trust is betrayed, it must be regained.  Again, what glorifies God?

So there you have it.  I believe you can love from a distance.  One can pray (a great display of love) for someone from a distance.  But to continue to place one’s self in unhealthy situations, isn’t just foolish.  It doesn’t glorify God.

So push back.  What are your thoughts?  Agreements?  Disagreements?  Tell me why.

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4 Responses to “Love? Really?”

  1. I think love your enemies means to desire salvation for their souls. Pray for them earnestly and whole heartedly. Recently I was angered (again) by someone who continually chooses to hurt my sons. Hate is a knee jerk reaction I think, for me in this situation. But ultimately my heart hurts for everyone involved and more so for my enemy who pours out emotional and spiritual harm, who chooses to darken his life (and ours) … So do I stay there? No. No. . . I am surrounded by beauty and a life in Christ that heals that type of brokenness. I choose to distance myself but continue to pray for him. Because we all deserve love. And we all deserve to live eternity NOT separated from God.

  2. Over the years I really struggled on how to deal with MY ideas on how to cope with love and an abusive father. What has helped me more than I could ever imagine is learning what Gods take is on this situation. I have learned what God’s love is like . When a person struggles through something like this, life and love can be very confusing. Too many grey areas! But in this messed up world we live in, God’s word is perfect, just like him. I know that he does not want for me to be treated less than he can love me. I learned a whole bunch from 1 Corinthians 13:5. God sure has changed my perspective. I fail terribly in these areas! But something I can take with me is that I can love from a healthy distance, learn how to say I am sorry when I mess up with my family and friends, and do the best I can to practice what Gods word teaches us to do. With Gods word we can learn to take a bad example in our lives into a compassionate example to others around us. There is not a day on this earth that I have stopped loving my dad. Sure haven’t always liked his actions. Continuously pray for him, but know when to keep my distance. I agree with Maria, Christ can heal brokenness!

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