The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Are we to love only those who deserve our love? Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 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.
- Matthew 5:43-45


tehillim said…
It's difficult. Jesus' words on that mountain have long brought both grace and conviction to me. What has caught me most is this [taken from The Message]

21-22"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

I'm glad Jesus spilled that out for me, because it healed a lot of wounds for me. It let me know my pain was legitimate and was something demanding His attention. Life. But it also let me know the impact I can have on others. If I'm on the brink of hellfire, I am extraordinarily vulnerable to destruction and I'm probably splattering it all over the people around me. Jesus likes to rescue, surely, but I don't want to be responsible for the pit He has to pull other people out of. I don't want to be the mechanism for unseen wounds. Even if they are my worst enemy.

He continues in v. 48 to say that living generously and graciously towards others is to live like our original selves, our God-created selves. Our If-We-Never-Ate-The-Apple-Or-Called-People-Names Selves. Which is a perfect, unmarred reflection of Beauty. I want that. I want to be that. I want a world of that. It would be revolutionary.

My comment might be longer than your post....sorry. This something I love to discuss. It gives me hope for what I'm becoming.
Melanie said…
Nice blog title. The verse is...ok...I guess, if you like that sort of thing. KIDDING! It's great. Have a good day.
AWretchLikeMe said…
I like this. =) "Are we to love only those who deserve our love?" Ouch.
miksiemanym said…
If this were the only verse in the Bible it would be enough to convict me and keep me struggling to obey it my entire life. What translation is this taken from?
Chris said…
I appreciate your post as I struggle with this alot, mostly a work lately.

This kind of love, to love the unlovable, is a supernatural love. We cannot do it apart from Christ. If we think we can, we are fooling ourselves. The transformation would have to begin with ourselves conforming to Christ who enables us to love people as He loves people, not for who they are, but for the person they could become in Christ.

If we stay away from the unlovable people (as I tend to do sometimes) aren't we compromising the impact we can have on both our lives?
tehillim said…
just as an aside, i was once at a campus ministry meeting featuring a local pastor as a guest speaker. his message told us, and i quote as verbatim as i can remember a couple of years after the fact, to "show the gays the love of Christ without getting too emotionally close" because, you know, Jesus keeps his emotional distance. intimacy is not his middle name..... it's times like that when i gain insight into Christ's frustrations [to say the least] with false teachers.
~alice said…
This has sparked a question.
If the Bible says to love your enemies, then something like the death penalty I can't make much sense of. I can understand a person being sentenced to a lifetime in jail, but who are we to judge whether or not somebody should live or should die? Isn't that God's job, and not ours?
Isn't the death penalty showing the exact opposite of forgiveness? And I'm not saying that we should make out a person's crime to be any less, but putting a person to death? Forgiveness?
There seems to be a conflict there.

We as Christians have the duty to be as Christ, and to show love and grace. It is a most difficult thing.
I can't remember who it was who said it, but I try to keep this in mind: "If you have TRULY forgiven a person, you will wish them well.".
The world would be a beautiful place if people took the phrase forgive and forget seriously.
andrya said…
dude...i'm speechless and have tears in my eyes right now. you have no idea how much i needed to read that right now in my life... thank you from the bottom of my heart...that was amazing.
Elodie said…
aw, geez. i always get so convicted when I read that. ldskjaflk;ajlf;ajfla it's something i totally need to be doing and i always go in with the mindset that I will be patient and loving and kind, and three minutes into a conversation with/about them, I'm trashing them again. =[ it's a stupid cycle.
liz said…
Lovely. It's so true.
Anonymous said…
It's hard to love your enemy when they have hurt you so deep. But I believe that that is completely true. If you hate them, then that will just create a world of hate. We should love on another. Although it may be hard to love my ex, I still love him after all that he has done to me.
StrangelyNormalSteph said…
And it's what being a Believer is all about really. Love. And on that thought...

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Thanks for posting that Stephen, I forget that too often.
themockingbyrd said…
...If all the books in all the world were burnt, and we had only oral tradition, I think we'd be okay, as long as we had the Sermon on the Mount.

Speaking of books, if you don't mind, there's one I think I'll give you, next time I'm at a show.

If that's irksome fan behavior, though, say as much, and I'll strike the thought from my mind at once.
Anonymous said…
definitley something we can all try and do a lot more of
Latrina said…
Beautiful. Something we should all remember. :)
Davidson said…
No way man, we only need to love those that agree with us. I'm so sick of people trying to persecute me by being gay and legalizing abortion.

I'd much rather live in my own sub-genre where I can print my own Christian T-shirts and bumper stickers. That way I can create my own Christian version of everything... music, film, romance novels... myspace.

We need to embrace this conditional love. If we just give it to anyone, they may not do what we want. Nothing shows off the incredible love of Christ like boycotts and Church-based political movements.

I had a vision once, and it was Christ -- and He was holding a giant flaming cross/sword... and it was named justice... and liberty... but the townspeople nicknamed it the Church. And He was swinging it at Disney.
hey. *waves self-conciously* i really like the title of this post. what's it from...or did you come up with it yourself?
This reminds me of something I wrote on one of my websites... It's kinda long but i'll post it anyhow. Here it is:

In this world, there is a severe lack of love and that lack of love starts with me.

So what can be done to reverse this downward trend? How can we stop the hate that dwells in and comes forth from the heart? How can a disconnected heart be put back together, ransomed, and renewed?

Revolutionary Love.

The act of loving someone seems easy enough, especially if we like the person we’re showing love to. Saying the words, “I love you,” seems hardly enough when it’s popular to say one thing and do another.

People are desperate to be accepted for who they are, where they are. There is no
person who can get along well enough without love. So those in need of love are being called to LOVE. It seems as thought love grows best when it is put into action; that people tend to love in return when loved first. We should challenge ourselves to be the first to love.

Buying a T shirt with a message on it isn’t going to change anyone. Anyone can wear anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s who they are. There are plenty of well dressed people who are full of nothing but darkness (and they need love too!) These shirts do not have souls of their own, but souls will be clothed by the same...what then? Will these souls learn to love as a result of putting on clothes? No! Put on Love. Then people will see the difference. Axiomwear is a clothing line, but it’s not about the clothes. The only thing Axiomwear clothing is good for is hopefully inspiring the first words of a deeper conversation about love, about hope, about social change.

So who are we called to love? It’s easy to “love” celebrities, as long as we like what they are wearing today. It’s easy to love our friends and family, for the most part. But how about making love available to all who desire to be loved? Were we not created to love and to be loved? Love is defined as not keeping any record of wrongs. In that case, should we love our enemies as well? Absolutely! We should love our friends and our enemies as well. If we only love when it’s convenient to do so, then it’s not really love. We should love people where they are, despite their shortcomings; for who they are, not who they should be, regardless of mistakes they have done, or whether they deserve it.

So we should love God, orphans, widows, friends, family, neighbors, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, moderates, communists, socialists, americans, anti-americans, foreigners, the disfigured, the beautiful, short, tall, obese, Osama bin Laden, President Bush, porn stars, rock stars, humanists, husbands and wives, single people, divorcees, homosexuals, straight, bi, transgendered, comedians, trash collectors, stock brokers, lawyers, judges, tech support people, Hillary Clinton, bullies, rape victims, the homeless, the eldery, Michael Moore, the fatherless, disabled people, Muslims, Christians, Evolutionists, Buddhists, Nihilists, Atheists, Agnostics, Mormons, alcoholics, people who have had and will have abortions, people with eating disorders, the hurt, the hopeless, the down and out, the rejected and outcast, the unlovable...

We should constantly be putting the best interests of each other before our own. This is easy to say in words, but not easy to put into action. So let’s embrace the challenge and change the world.


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