When It Is Hard To Love Your Neighbor

Although it may seem outdated, out of all the social media options popular today, my social media of choice is Facebook. While there are many benefits to Facebook, such as being able to see the postings of my loved ones and sharing exciting events with family and friends who live far away, I rarely am on Facebook. About five years ago I made the decision to unfollow all political pages and spend less time on Facebook.  

You see, every time I went on Facebook, I found myself in a vacuum of my own thoughts and political opinions. And while at first this seemed like a good thing, I found that over time it began to change me for the worse. I began to look at those who disagreed with me as “others.” I saw them as people bent on destroying the world. And I saw myself and those who agreed with me as the “better” people, who, through our own morality, would save the world. And day by day, as I surrounded myself with echoes of my own thoughts, I began to despise the “others” more and more until I ultimately began to hate them. And my hate began to fester inside of me so much that even people who were my own family and friends became my enemies.  

Over the past several years, our country has faced a similar situation. And we have become so divided along political lines that some have begun to label anyone who disagrees with them politically as “the enemy.” And some, on both sides, have called for the death of others.  

But do you know what Jesus tells us to do about our enemies? He doesn’t ask us to hate them or destroy them but to love them. Luke 6:27 says, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you …” Even when our reasons for labeling someone as the enemy are right and just and even godly, Christ does not call for hatred or death, but for love and goodness.  

This is perhaps one of the hardest things that God calls us to do.  

However, this concept of loving your enemy is not foreign to God. Ever since the fall, mankind, in its sin and worldliness, has been an enemy of God (James 4:4). And this includes both you and me. Yet God, in His great mercy, did not wipe us off the face of the planet in His righteous wrath and anger (Deuteronomy 4:31). Instead, He has treated us with love. And in love, He sent His Son, Jesus, to show the greatest act of love: death for our sake (John 15:13). You see, even the most perfect and holy God—when faced with us, the enemies of His perfection—did not destroy us but loved us to the point of death. And He now asks us to both love and do good for our enemies. 

But how do we do that? Well, first and foremost we must confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness for hating our enemies. We must recognize that it is not our moral superiority that will save the world, but that the world has already been saved through Christ. And as we are forgiven in Christ, He gives us His Holy Spirit who enables us to love our enemies by sharing the gospel with them and praying for their salvation. For Jesus died not only for us, but for our enemies, too. And that’s something worth posting on Facebook.   

Mikey Meester [FLS first-year] is from Valley City, N.D. 

FLBC

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