“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:6-8
This passage of Scripture is a favorite of many because it reminds us of God’s love for us. God loves us so much that while we were still His enemies, He rescued us from a certain death by letting Jesus die for our sins instead. In the words of a beautiful hymn:
“Love was when God became a Man,
Down where I could see Love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.”
However, this passage is much more than a reminder of God’s love for us: The passage is also a challenge.
God demonstrates His love for us even when we oppose Him, even when every fiber of our being resists Him, even when we have rejected Him; even then God still shows His love for us. The challenge is, “Believers, how are we showing God’s love to those that oppose us?”
It is easy to reflect on God’s love for us, but God challenges us to do more than just think about how much He loves us. He wants us to do more than simply accept that love. He wants us to LIVE that love, to commend His love to others in the way we treat them, especially those who oppose us at every turn.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:44-45
Yes God wants us to love those who hate us, just as He has always loved us even when we hated Him.
But in the battles of the day (pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-gun vs. anti-gun, pro-gay vs. anti-gay, pro-immigration vs. anti-immigration, pro-tax vs. anti-tax, pro-austerity vs. pro-stimulus, left vs. right) it can be easy to forget God’s unfailing love and the importance of demonstrating that love, even to those with whom we vehemently disagree. Yes, loving our enemies is more important than defeating them.
Consider this truth: While we ourselves were God’s enemies, we were saved and transformed by God’s love, not God’s judgment (though the time of God’s judgment will definitely come). Therefore, only way to reach our enemies is to demonstrate a love that they cannot show/give. The same love God showed us while we were His enemies.
What makes the Believer different, is the love of God that flows from God through the Believer to the people (both friends AND enemies) God puts in that Believer’s life.
Consider this truth: Salvation is more important than politics. It is more important that my enemy comes to God than to my point of view (even if I am right!). If I win the fight but my enemy is still unsaved, then I have not won anything. If I lose the fight, but win my enemy for Christ, then I have won everything.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we have been instructed to love our enemies, not to win arguments with them. Let us commend to them the love we ourselves have received from God. Yes, let us love our enemies even as they oppose us.