The standards of our Savior have always been high…impossible, even. Forgive those who persecute you?? Love your enemies?? We all know we can only do so by the Lord’s grace.

The problem is when we don’t recognize that we are NOT forgiving, that we are NOT loving our enemies. We usually have no problem seeing these issues in others, but it requires a special kind of honesty and illumination to be able to see it in ourselves. We tend to be satisfied with a lack of animosity, or blatant evil, towards others. But this is not the standard to which we are called.

As Pastor Harry pointed out this past Sunday, being filled with hate is not only manifested with acts of outright evil, but that even when we are lacking in love, we are missing the mark.

Defining love is ever-elusive, but I think C.S. Lewis (of course) comes mighty close. He notes that when Jesus exhorted us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he was essentially saying to hold out goodwill to others as we do ourselves. We all want good things for ourselves; love, security, blessings, etc. When we stop to pray for those same good things for our enemies rather than wishing for their downfall, maybe even taking steps to help them physically or mentally receive blessings, then we are taking a step towards loving as HE would have us love. Tough love? Yes, but not in the way we normally think of it, and possible to do only through the help of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

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