Today’s devotional: love those who hate you

“Love your enemies” is one of Jesus’ most famous—and confounding—commands. Is it possible to feel genuine love for somebody who hates and persecutes you? Are we expected to love our enemies in the same way that we love our families and friends?

Delve Into Jesus takes a thorough look at this passage and explains Jesus’ command:

We don’t usually choose whom we love romantically, and we may fall in and out of love at the whim of our emotions. Since this is the kind of love with which we are the most familiar (and perhaps the most comfortable), we struggle when we hear Jesus speak of “loving our enemies.” A contradiction forms in our mind as we think, “How can I love them? I don’t feel a shred of sympathetic emotion for them at all!”

The love of which Jesus speaks is not a feeling in any sense of the word. It is a decision resulting in action. It is a choice you make that has nothing whatsoever to do with how you feel, and quite often, occurs in spite of a feeling to the contrary. This kind of love judges the needs of a person but never the person themselves, and responds according to the gravity of the need, never the character of the person.

Understand that you must absolutely restrain whatever you feel for a person and treat them with as much compassion and kindness as you would show your own mother or child. This is the kind of love that Christ demands – not a feeling, but rather a spirit of service, selflessness and humility. It is the ability to give to others with no regard to what they can do to repay you, what they feel for you or what you feel for them.

Read the full devotional at Delve Into Jesus.

I’ve found in my experience that this command is easy to accept in principle, but excruciatingly difficult to carry out in practice. Have you recently found yourself in a situation where you had to choose to love someone in accordance with Jesus’ command, despite their behavior?

6 Responses to “Today’s devotional: love those who hate you”

  • Peggy says:

    yes I have been in that place where I need to love someone who I feel doesn’t deserve it….but…neither do I. Jesus died for me when I was in my sins, so I didn’t deserve His love either. not easy, but it takes practice, that’s for sure. thanks. peg

  • Chris says:

    What if it is your own mother who hates you and persecutes you? Even after explaining to her how I came to Christ, asking her to please stop trying to get me to move and stop being a stay at home mother, she hates me because I wont live the live she expects for me, and cant stand that I wont bend to her ways of thinking. I chose to stop talking to her last year, because it is the worst kind of pain when your own mother thinks that where you live and what you are doing is not good enough. Having more money and bigger better house is her idea of success, not living a God centered life in Christ.

    She also hates the fact that I am good friends with my dad’s wife (her ex husband) and she is extremely jealous, but never says it – her actions speak louder than words. She last year had even tried to manipulate my 10 year old daughter – telling her she could move to a better neighborhood than where we live. We live in an ethnically diverse large suburb and she thinks that we are endangering our child, even though my daughter is in the best school program in the city and we are doing well and happy, but I am not happy.

    Please pray for my continued healing for this matter.

  • Chris says:

    But I must say, I am not happy with my mother – I AM happy with MY life.

    She continued to send emails of job postings and home listings for 9 years straight after various attemps and arguments with her. And also after her not being able to say anything to my face, has told other family members that how I am living is “wrong” judging us for the town we live in – it is not a gang infested crime ridden neighborhood as she would have my other family members believe – it is a lower income neighborhood but where we live is nice.

    She is a lost soul and her husband as well.

    We have been attending and active members of our church, born again Christians and clean and sober for 21 years. But this is not good enough for her. She cannot understand and has never truly approved of me, loves me only for what I do not who I am.

  • Chris says:

    I am not happy with her and become very angry and sad that my mother cannot love me for who I am , only loves us for what we have materially and idolizes my youngest brother because their house is perfect, and make and spend lots of money, but they drink and he almost killed himself driving a snowmobile a few years ago crashing head on to tree because he was drunk. But she never accuses him of any wrongdoing, only because he is “perfect” and his wife, and they do not understand us either. So I do not go to family functions anymore with them because they treat us differently than other family members – we are treated as outsiders, we are talked about behind our backs.

  • Sheetal says:

    Hi Chris,
    Praise the lord..
    Since you have decided to follow Jesus,I am sure you are happy with your life. Don’t blame your Mom for what she is doing because the satan is making her do all this. The satan loves pulling God’s people away from the truth and make them get into these materialistic things. Your Mom is concerned about you and she thinks that only these materialistic things can bring happiness in your life but she doesn’t realise that once we decide to follow the lord all the happiness and peace come along, we keep happy all the time even if we don’t have any money.

    I am also going through the same situation prtty much however I don’t blame my Mom for what she is doing and I pray to God to work in her and I have started noticing the change in her.
    God wants us to humble ourselves and pray for what we need from him. Our lord jesus can do wonders, God will listen to your prayers.
    Have faith in him.
    All the best!
    Sheetal RK

  • anoel says:

    to everyone,

    love your enemies is so true. love and forgiveness go hand and hand. it is hard. but remember what Christ said on the cross “forgive them for they know not what they do” God will help you and others come to a realization of His Love. so-o-o-o-o-o BE BLESSED IN THE LORD.