43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48
“Horror has taken hold of me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.” This comes to mind when thinking of how little value many have for the greatest commandment of our Lord, Jesus: love one another as your Father in heaven loves you.
There seems to be little love for our neighbor—even our own family members—much less our enemies. Of course, there are many who do love, and even venture to the seemingly forsaken land of loving their enemies. Beautiful these are. So rare, it seems.
We can all strive to love one another better, and thanks to God through Jesus Christ that by Him we can learn what that looks like.
There will come a day when the love of many has grown so cold that God no longer cares for the unjust. When the day of vengeance is near, we will know because His prophets will say so, and if so called, the rain stops. What manner of time might we be in when such things are called for and indeed righteous in the eyes of God?
We are not in those times, so there is still time to return to the ways of Jesus and learn what love really looks like—not according to the “love” of this world, but according to the perfect love of Christ. He did not condone a love of this world. He rebuked it because love of this world is death.
We do not love by condoning sin, neither do we love by dealing with others in an overly critical manner. We love by rebuking evil in a self-controlled manner, using the word of God to do so, preferably. We love by being an example of what goodness is as we look to our own sin first, always seeking to be perfected by the Spirit that works in us, knowing our lack and returning to a place of humility as one who is “poor in spirit” and patient with others.
We love by hoping for the best and looking for the best in others, not looking for a reason to be fearful, self-righteous, envious, or proud.
We love by sacrificing our own gain or pleasures for the good of another, so long as our sacrifices are not by way of oppression, such as the sacrifice of mask and vaccine mandates or other forms of outward allegiance to tyrannical powers that destroy our neighbors by condoning the vanity and pride of virtue-signaling man and false prophet politicians, robbing the poor blind, and leading many into fear-mongering-induced slavery.
Yet, love those who hate us for not complying with tyranny. Love those who are snared by deceit and pray that the same grace we received of God is given to them knowing that any good thing we have in us came from Him. We are sinners too. Do not be overcome with a false sense of superiority or the temptation to look overmuch at the sins of others, no matter how severe they might be. Many take up vengeance too soon, joining with those who are “drunken with blood.” That is not our way.
God rewards the meek, self-controlled of the earth who seek peace. When it is time to war, it is He in us who will do it–not according to the murderous ways of the flesh and outward shows of self-righteous indignation as he who “calls down fire from heaven in the sight of man”–but as one who testifies to the truth of Jesus Christ with humility, self reflection and repentance, and a willingness to lay life down for His sake because we love Him most of all.
We love by loving Jesus first because He first loves us and He knows what love really looks like. He can teach us and work that which is unnatural to man within us—even when the love of many grows cold.
It can be hard to retain love in dark times full of murder, deceit, pride, envy, and all manner of wickedness. However, all things are possible by Jesus who saves us from the traps of this world that would destroy us. When we fail to love as we should, we rest on the mercy of Christ who died for us and we hope in the power of His resurrection.
We are called to perfection, but until “that which is perfect is come,” we don’t fully know what that looks like. However, by the word of God given in the scriptures and by the “engrafted word that saves our soul” given of the Spirit of God, we can grow in that direction. Jesus is our aim, and with so high a calling as that, all of us have room to love better. So, let us try in faith that He that is in us is stronger than this world.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.