Loving the Unlovable

11 09 2013

I was reminded this week of Jesus words in Matthew 5:43-48 where He tells us that we are to love our enemies. Instead of, doing things the old way, you know, loving our neighbor and hating our enemies. Recently, these verses have taken on a special significance in my life. I found that I looked forward to dealing with a certain kind of people, while, simultaneously, I dreaded spending time with another. And I don’t mean like simply trying to avoid someone who I find annoying. I mean D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G talking to, looking at, pr hearing from this type of person. What I really discovered is that I didn’t like them because they weren’t very easy to love.

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Which brings me back to this passage, Jesus didn’t say love those who are easy to love. He said love your enemies. While I don’t consider them my enemies, my attitude toward them has been unloving. Which is a nice way of saying I hated them. That last part was difficult to write. Because as a Christian, I should, and do “know,” better.

Another thing interesting happened to me, as I pondered these verses and my hateful feelings. I started substituting for a life skills/work place readiness teacher at a local high school, and the first subject that I was going to teach was about attitude. This interesting item that got my attention was the definition of attitude contained in the materials. The chapter of the book defined attitude as your feeling toward something.

The light went off for me when I read that definition. You see, I have been taught my whole life that my attitude in life was my choice. I could choose how I would respond to my circumstances or to people I encountered. In other words, I can choose my feelings, and my choices reveal the true condition of heart.

What does this have to do with love? For me, it means that I don’t have “right” to be annoyed by, to dislike or to hate a person. I, especially, can’t show those feelings toward that person. I do believe that this “demanding” position of Jesus on loving our enemies is impossible under our own strength or “will” power.

I do believe a proper perspective helps us in this struggle. This perspective to me come from Romans 5:8, ” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse coupled couple with verse 10, “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,” clearly indicates that God loved me as His enemy, a sinner. How can I do any less for those I view as enemies?

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