The Unbelievable Truth: God Really Wants Us To Love Our Enemies

Part 6 in the Unbelievable Truth Series

In our previous installment, we talked about how hard it is for Christians to believe that God really loves filthy sinners like killers and rapists and terrorists.

This article examines a very closely related truth which Christians equally struggle with: The idea that God really wants us to love our enemies too.

Because we can’t accept that God would love evil people, it just follows that we can’t believe that God would expect us to love them either. Of course, the truth is that God really does love evil people and that means that He really does expect us to do the same.

Even if we can accept this teaching in general, or in theory, it is much more challenging to actually take the step of loving our enemies or sincerely pray for these people to receive forgiveness or mercy or grace.

So, when we see the face of a terrorist or a murderer on the news our first impulse is not to stop and pray for that person to be saved and healed and forgiven. But that is what we should do if we are truly followers of Jesus.

Jesus commanded us specifically and in no uncertain terms to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us, and to do good to those who hate us. If we are to treat people who directly harm us and hate us like this, how much more should we love and bless those who have harmed others? Especially since the basis for these actions is found in the character of God. In other words, Jesus appeals to the loving and forgiving nature of God as our model for showing this same kind of love and mercy.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:44-45)

One of the main reasons that we find it so hard to love our enemies, I believe, is that we’re more influenced by our human nature than by our spiritual nature. We also make the mistake of thinking that loving our enemies is equal to approving of their behaviors, but that’s not the case. We can show love to people and extend mercy to them without accepting their actions. For example, my wife and I routinely help and serve people who are homeless. Many of them are addicted to heroin or meth. Do we approve of their drug use? Or their prostitution? Of course not. But that doesn’t prevent us from showing them love and mercy and extending the grace of God to them.

If we really hope to be ambassadors of Christ to a world full of imperfect people, we must admit that we are among the imperfect, and then we must allow God to fill us with His perfect love for others, especially those who (in our opinion) do not deserve it.

If we stop and think we’ll realize that none of us deserves the love and mercy of God, but we all need it very, very much.

What do you think?

**

Keith Giles’s new book Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

JOIN ME IN EL PASO, TEXAS: August 18th for the “Jesus Unbound Book Release Party.” This is a FREE event. Learn more HERE>

JOIN ME IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA: Sept. 15 at “Proactive Love: How Loving Our Enemies Changes Everything”Register HERE>

I also co-host the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean and I live in Orange, CA with my wife of 28 years and our two sons.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matt Agajanian

    What would help extremely is an illustrative, descriptive, point-by-point, example-by-example detailed description
    of what this kind of love looks like and how it is practiced. Yes, it’s nice to know that Jesus commanded this, but what are some real-life illustrations of what this looks like. Some examples would greatly help here, please. Thank you.

  • Nimblewill

    Who are my enemies? That’s the question that I need answered. I don’t consider drug users and prostitutes among them and doubt the you do either. I don’t consider any individuals my enemy; just groups that I’ve been told are out to get me. Like liberals, Muslims, SJW’s. I’m sure I have enemies, I just don’t know who they are.

  • Nimblewill

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  • Matt Agajanian

    Good points! Excellent illustration. Removes confusion & ambiguity. Thanks.