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;
That’s a tough one, isn’t it? The honest truth is, not everyone is likable. The honest truth is, we ourselves simply aren’t likable sometimes. Sometimes, for a myriad of different reasons, people just don’t find some other person’s company and presence to be pleasant. Gather a group of, say, a hundred or so people together, in something like a church environment and not all of those people are going to get along.
Despite the natural, God created differences in our personalities God has still commanded that we love one another. As I said, that’s a tough one. How, then are we to accomplish that? Well, the answer is: we DON”T accomplish that. If we are saved by the Grace of God, we allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish it through us.
As we have discussed before, Biblical love is not based on feelings. Part of Biblical love is to act in a loving manner towards those who are not lovable. This would include those who don’t deserve it, who can’t do anything for us, are jerks, mean or just generally unpleasant. That would include those who are jerks, mean and unpleasant directly to us! Wow, that’s tough.
Obviously, we are not going to feel pleasant feelings towards a person who is mean directly to us; therefore our love toward them cannot be based on feelings.
Biblical love, then, becomes an action; it is an act of the will rather than a feeling. If we allow our human weakness to dominate us, we will only allow our feelings to dictate our actions; filled with the Holy Spirit we can allow our actions to be the driving force, then perhaps our feelings will follow.
Let’s put this in action. Let’s look at Jesus on the cross. Who was to the left and right of Him as He hung dying on that cross? The two thieves of course. No doubt these were quite unpleasant individuals. In fact, they even joined with the crowd gathered at the crucifixion in mocking Jesus. Read Matthew 27:44.
In Luke 23, we see another aspect of this story. One of the thieves came to a saving faith in Jesus, as they hung there, and was promised everlasting life with Jesus in paradise. What if Jesus had just said, “Sorry, you should not have been so meant to me, you are out of luck!”?
And of course we can never forget what Jesus said to the mocking, killing crowd in general in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
All those people hated Jesus; they were killing him; they were mocking Him and most would ultimately reject Him. Yet, He loved them. He loved them because that was His Father’s will. He allowed the will of His Father to become His own will. That is what God wants from us.
Next time you say you can’t love someone because they are simply too unlikable, just remember what Jesus did on the Cross. If He had based His actions on how likable we are, we would be in deep deep trouble, right?