Perhaps one of the most difficult commandments in the Bible sounds the simplest: love one another.
In theory, this sounds easy. We know how to love our family and friends and to treat everyone we meet with kindness. The difficulty comes when we are faced with loving our enemies, those who persecute us.We must first recognize who our enemies are and then proceed to love them.
On a battlefield or in a life or death struggle with an assailant, it is easy to know who the enemy is. While the Bible tells us we are in a battle for our spiritual lives, our enemy may appear in many guises and many subtle forms. Therefore we must:
13-14 Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (MSG)
Bravely and strongly standing up for our convictions in chaotic and perilous times is never easy. It is made just that much more complicated when it must be done in love.
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)
These verses were featured on the You Version online Bible devotional for today and the presenter made a profound statement. He said, “Love with an agenda isn’t love.” To me that means I must look beyond the anger and resentment I feel toward those I perceive as the enemy and see each one as a fellow sojourner trying to make sense of these troubled times. I must set aside my agenda of trying to change their attitudes and beliefs and simply treat them with the same love I want to receive, reminding myself continually that nothing is impossible with God.