All people have an innate ability to love. Whether it be to love your children, your parents, or your spouse. We are by nature selfish, but there is in us a desire to love and to be loved. If we truly love someone we will make sacrifices in order to serve them. Our love turns into action and produces fruit. Love is patient, and kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Cor 13).
To me, it seems evident that we are living in times where people don’t want to love others unless it is beneficial to them. After all, why should I love someone when they’re cruel to me? Why should I love someone if they have opposing views as I do? Why love someone if all they do is mock and bully me? Why love them if they don’t accept who I am?
Our instinct is to protect those we love, and reject those we don’t. Or at least remain apathetic towards them. Why should I care about people on the street corner as I drive by? Why care about people being killed half a world a way? And for some, why should I even care about myself?
These dark questions can occupy our minds often. They did for me. I recall one day driving into work and seeing a homeless man on the corner. I don’t remember exactly my thoughts, but I was indifferent. I did not care about him. And why should I? He was a stranger. I was so confused and angry I viewed fellow humans as no more valuable than a dog or any other animal. That thought process was a result of not knowing God and from the suffering I saw in the world. I was dead and my eyes were blind to the truth. But God changed me.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that none should perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). God’s love is holy and righteous. He delights in love and hates what is evil. Yet while we were sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8).
Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-46 - “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
What credit was it to me that I loved my girlfriend or my family? I had no empathy for a homeless man nor any other strangers in the world. Even the most evil people in the world are capable of loving their parents or their spouse or their family. But to love your enemy is a love that surpasses human instinct.
God’s love is unconditional. He desires all people to come to know him. (1 Tim. 2:4). But the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and without Christ we will die in our sins. But Christ gave himself up for us so we may be saved from hell! Just as a loving father would take a bullet to save his son or daughter, God showed us his love on the cross by being the final sacrifice and to redeem us from the binding power of sin.
So my friends, when I’m underwater or travelling or wherever in my day to day life, I have to constantly remember who God is and how his love took action. Why should I love those who mock me, or hate me or are strangers to me? Because God loves them and died for them. He is good, holy, just, and loving. Like a father to his children God desires to save us from sin and lead us into a new life. A life full of hope and peace. He did that for me and he can for you too.