Love Your Enemies; Looking at how this looks in our lives. Unity and Civil Christianity
We can look at society today and not see many people loving each other. How does this look in our lives? For us, as a nation and as the Body of Christ to walk in unity we must love each other including our enemies!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
We must love people! Many people have a certain way to define an enemy, but Mike Bickle, with International House of Prayer, has a good definition of an enemy. “An enemy is someone who gets in the way of your plans.” How do you react when your schedule or plan is interrupted? What is more important than our plans or our path in life, is how we respond to the people on our path along the way.
How do we love? Most of us have a certain way we love, but more importantly, we can ask the people in our life how we can love them! Bishop T.D. Jakes is asked, how do I love my enemy? He responds with great wisdom! “I think that love begins with the common human experience that we all have. I think that loving your enemy gets down to the basic human issues. Air, water, lights, food, family; basic human essentials. At least let’s love on the level that we exist and then debate on the level that we think. We have lost all respect and civility, and I think that it just comes back to respecting people. Because God made them and how can you say you love God who you have not seen and hate that reflection that He created. You cannot worship Him up there while you resent Him right here.”
God has loved us from the foundations of the earth while we were still sinners! This is how we are to love as well. So, what is love? Paul answers this question for us.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
This is what God wants us to do! Many times, in life we work hard to complete a task or do something for God while running people over. It is more important for us to be delayed in our plans and to treat the people with a love that interrupt our plans.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set a great example of how to live a life by loving others! The purpose and driving force of his actions were so driven by love; he wanted to make sure those that were marching alongside him were walking in agreement. He even wrote out ten specific commitments that each person had to abide by. Even during opposition, he committed to loving his enemies.
Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. King, Jr., speaks specifically about how her father led a spiritual movement not a civil rights movement.” I tell people all the time that the movement that was led by my father was a spiritual movement. It wasn’t a civil rights movement. It impacted civil rights, but it was a spiritual movement, and its assignment was to civil rights.”
It is time for us to be involved in a movement now! We can look at the ten commitments that Dr. King required those that walked with him to abide by and agree to before they could be involved in the movement. We have taken these commitments and agreed to them as well, and you can join the movement too by visiting Civil Christianity today!
The Ten Commitments:
I hereby pledge myself—my person and body to the nonviolent movement. Therefore, I will keep the following ten commitments:
1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and adversary the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10. Discipline yourselves to follow the spirit of the movement. I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.
We must know who we walk and labor with and know that we are all in agreement which will set us apart from those that are against our beliefs.
When we look at love we can look at love as a weapon! Dr. King spoke at a church in 1956 about how we must fight against evil with Christian weapons. “May I say just a word to those of you who are struggling against this evil. Let me say to you to always struggle against it with Christian methods and with Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. Never succumb to the temptation of indulging in hate campaigns. You must, at all moments, move with wise restraint and calm reasonableness. Keep pressing on but press on with discipline and dignity and use only the weapon of love and let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
Dr. King walked out the ten commitments that he asked others to follow! Naomi King, the sister-in-law to Dr. King, shares how he truly walked out love. She went to Dr. King’s house and was there late that night. “I was seated in the darkened living room of their home…ML (Dr. King) as we call him at that time, when he came in, I was glad he couldn’t see my face…he went straight to his mantle, and he put his hand upon the mantle…’He said you know what? I was detained at the police station.’” He was tugging at his throat as he was talking. Dr. King said, “They tried to choke me to death with my own tie.” But he continued to encourage Mrs. King, “You know the more they mistreat us, the more they abuse us, the more we got to love them and forgive them. Because the hatred is very much alive, and we have got to love them.”
We can choose to follow Dr. King’s example and choose love over hatred! Jesus did the same thing, and if you are not sure how to love you can ask Jesus to give you love for others! He will respond to you. What do you think about love? We want to hear from you, and you can write to us at [email protected]. Greg and Steve shared in this segment.