Must I Love My Enemies?

By: Waylon Bailey

The greatest commandment is for me the most difficult command.

When Jesus told us to love those who hate and despise us, He gave an amazing commandment. How do we do good to our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44)? How do we bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28)?

What is the key to loving our enemies?

First, the worth of the recipient of my love is not the key. Jesus talked about enemies, those who hate us, and those who mistreat us. Surely, these are not people who deserve anyone’s love. The command of Jesus has nothing to do with worth.

We, very often, get this confused. I hear husbands and wives excuse their lack of love, or faithfulness, or respect because their mate doesn’t deserve it. When Jesus talked about loving others, He used radical terminology, but He did not talk about whether the other person deserved it. He was not concerned with what was inside the other person; He was concerned with what is inside His followers.

Second, what the person has done is not the key. You and I debate the nature of sin. We discuss “big” sins and “little” sins. Jesus did not enter into such futile and self-serving discussions. What the person has done or not done is not the key.

Third, how much the person hates me is not the key.

Jesus is the key. 

Really nothing much matters other than the desire of my Lord for me to follow and obey Him. He wants me to think and act like Him. As our Heavenly Father gives good gifts even to those who don’t know Him or obey Him (Matthew 5: 44-45), He wants us to follow His lead.

I am not the key. My thoughts, ideas, or rationalizations are not the key. He, and He alone, is the key.

I simply have to follow Him.

Have a great week!