Many in Christian circles talk about having a spiritual gift. The greatest spiritual gift is the spiritual gift of love. It doesn’t matter what kind of spiritual gift we have. If we lack love, or “charity”, none of our other gifts matter. The spiritual gift of love takes into consideration the wellbeing of others (this goes along with the golden rule).
Nobody is perfect. We all can fail at loving perfectly. Love is humble and able to apologize about mistakes, though. An inability to apologize and a tendency to stonewall are not signs of love and strength. They are signs of narcissism. Loving enemies is only possible with God’s type of empowerment and love.
Loving enemies is other-worldly!
We can all love others more; none of us are perfect. It’s a good goal to have and a good gift to use. How can you show love to someone in your life who needs it? Who in your life doesn’t deserve it, but needs your love? Is there a difficult person in your life? Do you think about how the other person feels?
Part of using the gift of love is also loving and respecting ourselves enough to say “No” to bullies, abusive groups and certain situations. There have been many times in my life when I have experienced highly toxic relationships and damaging situations. I approached these situations with love, but many situations in life cannot be fixed. In many cases, letting some relationships expire is part of showing love to ourselves!
In many situations, we must be careful. We must remember that loving others, including enemies, also involves wisdom (see Romans 12:9). We can forgive, but we also learn a lesson. We can love from afar, but we will never get close enough for some to abuse us again. We can’t let our forgiveness become foolishness or our love to make us an object for abuse. When we love, we must remember that we, too, have value!
I once was, unfortunately, part of an unsafe, cultic religious group in the Calvary Chapel movement. I left when I realized they were teaching the public about Jesus and God’s love but willfully hating others. In fact, they were experts at abusing others in God’s name; it was part of their secret dogmas, practices and behaviors. It was a coercive-control group. As it is, many religious groups are about elitism and self at the expense of humility and serving others.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”– Philippians 2:3-4
Today’s short inspiration on the spiritual gift and power of love/loving enemies is from Jason:
You never know how deep of an impact love and humility will have on someone. Since I’ve known the Lord, I’ve seen the power that intentional love has on people. I’ve personally seen love and humility change people and situations – nine out of ten times. I can’t put words on the depths this love and humility has impacted many situations I’ve run into in life.
It is, unfortunately, not a common experience in people’s lives today. Just by praying and being open to God’s leading (in showing love and humility) grew me a ton.
Look at Jesus’s own words in his “Sermon on the Mount”:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same?”– Matthew 5:43-46
The Bible says that even the wicked can love the lovable. It takes a seasoned follower of Christ to love the unlovable. Even 1 Corinthians 13, which is considered “The Chapter of Love”, describes those who are not seasoned in love as immature children.
Grow in love and embrace the humility it takes to love your enemies. You will break down huge barriers when you do, and you will have more influence. After all, this life should be about eternal souls, not our own egos.
– Jason S. from Phoenix, Arizona; Founder of United In Spirit