Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love. —Mahatma Gandhi
If we’re honest, not all of us want to love our enemies. In fact, some of us rather enjoy the disdain we have for our enemies.
But now we know that Jesus desires to love our enemies through us and that He makes this impossible task possible. Therefore, the question is no longer, “Can we love our enemies?” but rather, “Will we love our enemies?”
If the answer is “Yes, we will,” then we need to figure out where to start.
Luke 6:31 reminds us to “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
This isn’t the world’s way of loving, is it? The world says, “If you love me, I’ll love you.” The world’s rule is one of reciprocity. It is transactional. It’s conditional. It waits for someone else to make the first move.
Reciprocity isn’t Jesus’ way of loving. Jesus tells us to be initiators. Do to others as we would have them do to us. He says the first move is ours.
Some people call this verse the Golden Rule, and if we were looking for a formula for what Jesus did—this would be it. Jesus followed this rule.
But we aren’t looking for what Jesus did. We are looking for what He will do.
So what will Jesus do? Jesus will love in the way He wishes to be loved, and He will love this way through us.
This is really good news because otherwise, the Golden Rule would never work. If we tried to initiate love toward our enemies without first surrendering to Jesus, we’d end up feeling defeated. The ability to love our enemies is supernatural stuff, and only God can change our hearts in this way.
So the next time you encounter your enemy and your blood pressure is rising, offer yourself to the Spirit and ask, What would it look like for You to love this person the way I wish this person loved me?
Jesus, am I an initiator of love in difficult relationships? Or do I wait to see how much love is given to me first and then give back proportionately? I long for You to initiate love moments through me starting today. I’m available, Jesus… Amen.
Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?