Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Our Enemies

Romans 12:14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

112015 Ray McDonaldWe were in Romans 13 this past Tuesday morning. In that weekly Bible study – someone asked – how can we love everyone? They thought our society used the word love way too often – and just maybe the Bible too. They had a hard time loving some of their neighbors who had done them wrong. This discussion came from our reading of a section of Scripture around Romans 13:8 – Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

We talked about the Greek word used here for love being Agape – or Godly love. It means that we are to love – even when the other person is not lovable – even before they might love us back. We shared that God loved us way before we loved Him – and loves everyone – even those who will not live Him in return. Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There are different words in the Greek that are translated as love in English in the Bible. One is Phileo or brotherly love – the love of a close friend. Another is Agape – as we mentioned – or Godly love. It is the word that is used in 1 Corinthians 13 for example – perfect love. Another is Storge – which is usually used to represent our feelings – close feelings – toward someone or something – like our family or children. The fourth is Eros – which is erotic or passionate love – love of a spouse.

Loving our enemies is not easy. We can only love those who do us wrong with a love that comes from God. It is only through a deep spiritual relationship with God that we can love our enemies. It is what separates believers from none-believers. Matthew 5:43–48 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor 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. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Good News – as we struggle to love as God loves – is that this love is eternal and nothing or no one can take this love away – when God showers it on us. Romans 8:37–39 – 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s strive to love – not as the world loves – but as God loves. Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 6, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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