The hardest love of all – Hope 103.2

The hardest love of all

By David ReayThursday 19 Nov 2015LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 5:43-47

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. (NLT)

So much of what we see as love may fall short of the real thing. We love what people can do for us; we love certain attributes of certain people. We rightly repay kindnesses and desire the company of friends. But Jesus reminds us that real love is that which extends love to those who are unlovely or who treat us in an unlovely manner. It is an attitude of goodwill and compassion offered to those we may not even like. As such, it is supernatural rather than natural.

And yet we have to offer a caution: this is a passage talking about personal relationships and the warning not to repay evil for evil in such relationships, an invitation to pray for blessings on those who might want to curse us. It is in no way an invitation for us to ignore criminality: in such cases the law takes its course and we leave it to the law.

Nor is it about adopting a ‘nice’ or tolerant view of those who destroy human beings. Loving a terrorist or child molester is not about regarding them as jolly nice people who just need a bit of understanding. It is about refusing to take revenge ourselves and leaving it to God and his delegated authorities. It is about declaring how much we oppose what such people do while not ourselves becoming tangled in personal hatred which will only destroy us.

Loving those who may not love us is to refuse to play God and instead seek to see them with God’s eyes and heart. And that may not be at all ‘nice’.

David Reay