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July 19, 2014

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This statement was included in some of the private teachings between Jesus and His disciples at the last supper, and it is meant to be practiced by all believers. However, this commandment is often overlooked when we read the scriptures and attempt to pattern our lives after some of the individuals about whom we read. We forget that the Bible gives the account of man’s life on earth by sharing their experiences and their thoughts, and though some of their actions appeared justified, they were not godly. Many of the Old Testament characters called on God to severely punish or destroy their enemies. This is not the request that God desires believers to have. It is critical to remember what God said to Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways (Isaiah 55:8). Therefore with this in mind, let me talk about that word called “LOVE.”

Some of the definitions of love as it relates to this blog are a strong emotional attachment, a strong affection for another, tenderness, warm attachment, devotion, and unselfish loyal and benevolent concern.

Biblical scholars have depicted four kinds of love that can exist between humans, and they are:
1. Eros- romantic, passionate and sentimental
2. Storge- natural affections for, belonging to each other (parent & child)
3. Phileo- friendship, tender affection, brotherly
4. Agape- unconditional, unselfish love

In John13:34, Jesus is talking about agape love. This love endures. I believe the translation of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 in the Message Bible makes the definition of agape love quite clear. It states, “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

After reading this and thinking about your struggles with difficult, treacherous individuals you may feel this kind of love in unattainable and can’t be done, but Jesus also address this situation with his disciples in Matthew 5:38- 48 (I will again use the Message Bible.) He said, “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

I don’t think I need to elaborate anymore, it is quite clear, God expects us to love our haters and since He expects it, apparently no matter what the situation may be, we can do it.




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