Love Your Enemies

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV)

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 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. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NLT)

Voices, voices, voices, everywhere! They are on the television. They are on the radio. They are on the internet, on internet news sites, and social media. They are the voices of some of our friends, family, and co-workers and they all seem to be chanting the same mantra, “It’s us against them.” These words are seeds being planted into our hearts and minds if we let them and the seeds being sown, the harvest they seek, is hate.

They want us to hate someone because of the color of their skin, black or white, hispanic, or asian, etc. They want us to hate people who don’t agree with our politics, our religion, our medical and our educational choices. They want us to hate someone that has more money than us or less money than us. They want us to hate a particular political leader whether on the left or the right. Why? Because if they can get us to hate, they can divide and conquer.

I’ve seen it as a political ploy one too many times. Focus the hate on one person and make it all about that one person. I get the texts, the emails, the mailings, “Can you believe what so and so person is doing now?” To my Christian friends, I want to remind you that we battle not against flesh and blood and if you are focused on one person or people of a particular race or party, you have been brought down from your influence in the heavenly realm and down to an earthly, soulish battle that you will not win.

For seventeen years I visited and prayed with people who were battling illnesses and disease. As we prayed, time after time, we would find the origin of the disease in the person’s emotional state. Fear caused all kinds of physical and mental issues. When the emotion was hate, those illnesses both physical and mental became amplified. We were created in God’s image. God is love. We were created to love and be loved. When we hate it goes against our mental and physical ‘wiring’ and things go wrong, both mentally and physically and as we are seeing so clearly now things go wrong societally as well.

In his book, Deadly Emotions by Don Colbert, M.D., Dr. Colbert discusses the link between negative emotions and disease. Some of the ‘deadly emotions’ he discusses are anger, hostility, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-hatred, anxiety, and repressed anger. Some of the diseases that can be triggered by these emotions are hypertension, coronary artery disease, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, mitral valve prolapse, heart palpitations, tension and migraine headaches, chronic back pain, TMJ, and fibromyalgia to name a few.

Have you ever noticed how consuming hate can be? And who does the hate affect the most? The person that is doing the hating. Yes, their actions will affect others, but in the middle of the night when they are all alone, that hate is destroying the hater, both physically and mentally.

Why do I say all this? Because I love you. I love every person that is reading this post. How do I know? Because I have chosen a life of love over a life of hate. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I may not agree with people, I may not even like certain people (usually because of their actions), but I have chosen to love all people. Why? Because hate will never change the world for the better. Love will.

Once again, I can’t control whether others love me or not, but I can control whether I love others or not. Living a life of love did not start out easy, and occasionally a person’s words or actions can challenge the decision I made to love everyone, but then I remember a few things. I remember the damage it can do to my mental and physical health. I remember that it will only hurt me and others. I remember that good or bad God loves them. He may not like their actions either, but He sent His Son Jesus to die for them, who am I to hate someone He loves.

This doesn’t mean we don’t rise up against injustice or stand up for what’s right. We can hate evil without harboring hate in our hearts towards any one person or people group. What it does mean is that as we love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them we look a little more like our heavenly Father each time that we do.

We are surrounded by those voices sowing seeds of hate, but we can be those that sow seeds of love that bring healing to our own lives, to the lives of the people we influence, and to our communities, ultimately affecting nations.

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