Love WHO?

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27, 28 (TNIV)

Many of us don’t have enemies. We are sheltered from hate crimes. Yet we are quick to complain or protest at the slightest hint of mistreatment. Loving and praying for those who don’t treat us right is difficult. We can’t even imagine loving enemies.

But Jesus did. Jesus knew that hatred in response to hatred multiplies hatred; but love in response to hatred can overcome hatred as the hater sees the possibilities of love. The highest expression of love for enemies is forgiveness. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, like Jesus, prayed for his killers as he died: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

Perhaps while the young man at Virginia Tech was shooting, some of his 32 victims were praying for and forgiving him. Certainly some victims’ family members forgave and showed love to him and his family afterward. Thousands, maybe millions, have been moved by Corrie Ten Boom’s story of forgiving the guard at the Nazi concentration camp. In 2006, Immaculee Ilibagiza published her story, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. God’s love kept her praying and believing as she faced killers repeatedly and enabled her to forgive her family’s killer. 

Lord Jesus, we praise You for Your life and death in perfect love. Thank You for those You empower to forgive and live on in love. Amen.

(Additional Reading: Luke 6:27-36)