Forget Loving Your Enemies

A few weeks back, my small group at church was studying the book, Radical. I have a feeling many of you have either heard of or purchased it at some point. One of the many topics we discussed happened to be loving your enemies which comes from the Beatitudes where Jesus is talking to His disciples about how they should live.

Matthew 5:43
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

As everyone was moving on to the topic of loving your enemies, I was still stuck back on verse forty three where it says to love your neighbor. My reply was “forget loving your enemies, I cannot even love my neighbors!!!!” (I do love you Nancy if you are reading this). But my point is that if loving my neighbors precedes loving my enemies then I am in trouble because I am still stuck back in Stage 1. I struggle with even the basic things like not getting angry with my neighbor’s pesky dogs or taking the time to visit the people who are not even 30 feet next to me. The basic things are what’s hanging me up. Take for instance the passage in Luke where it states

Luke 10:27
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Forget loving my neighbor, I can’t even love myself half the time. I talk down to myself, if not out loud, in my mind. I treat my body more like a saloon; not even close to an all important temple of God. And I very rarely take the time to rest and relax.

So, it’s the basics that are stumping me-not even the hard stuff that Christ calls us to like loving our enemies. Christ wants us to mature. For Pete’s sake, I’ve been a Christian for 17 years and I am still drinking baby milk in a lot of ways. I want to figure out how to love like Jesus Christ loves, how my Father loved so much that He gave up His Son for me. I want to love without conditions, without any recognition, and without restraint. God help me to love like you.

1 Peter 2: 1-2 1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

One Response to Forget Loving Your Enemies
  1. Kimberly
    May 27, 2011 | 7:00 am

    I am so totally with you! I struggle with the basics, too. I am so glad He is more than willing to help me with learning to love like He does. He says I can do nothing apart from Him…not even the basics. HOW TRUE! 🙂

    Great reminder for us to surrender our hearts fully to Him…for the basics and the tougher stuff!