Bible Question:

I found your website while browsing. I have only gone through your last study. Am I right in saying the following? Though we have to love our enemies, whoever that enemy might be and whatever he has done, our expressions of love should foremost include a

Bible Answer:

The first time God commanded us to love someone in Scripture other than ourselves was in Leviticus 19:18. In that passage God commanded us to love our neighbor.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18 (NASB)

Commanded To Love Our Neighbor and Enemies

But when Jesus began His ministry on earth He not only commanded us to love our neighbors (Matthew 5:43; 19:19; 22:39-40), but He also command and repeatedly urged us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

You have heard that it was said, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:43-44 (NASB)

Different Ways To Express Our Love

Romans 13:8-10 tells us that love expresses itself in a very broad way to others (our neighbors and enemies). Immediately, we are told to owe nothing to anyone except love. That is, we are not to do wrong to them in anyway.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (NASB)

Unfortunately, wrong is occurring constantly in our “modern and enlightened era.” But this has not always been true.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we are told that love is not feeling warm and fuzzy for someone.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NASB)

Notice that love is more than feelings. While many comments could be made about this verse, let’s focus on the truth that love does not seek its own and love includes kindness.  Kindness is important since Ephesians 4:32 states that kindness includes forgiveness.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

In Luke 10:25 a lawyer asked Jesus how to obtain eternal life. In response Jesus asked him what was written in the law. The lawyer responded by quoting Leviticus 19:18.

And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Luke 10:27 (NASB)

After the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus illustrated how to love one’s neighbor with the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). That is, we are to care for them when they are in need.

Another way to express our love for others is to share the good news about Jesus Christ so that they can have eternal life. Those who do have beautiful feet.

How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!” However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:14-17 (NASB)

Greatest Expression Of Our Love

But the greatest expression of love is to die for our neighbors and enemies.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (NASB)

Jesus is the ultimate expression of love for everyone. He died to forgive our sins (John 10:11, 15, 17).

Conclusion:

Jesus desires that we will love our enemies, our neighbors and our fellow Christians,

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (NASB) Galatians 6:10

Reference Links:

Pursuing Holiness - Forgiveness and Others
Forgive Seventy Times Seven
Forgiveness - Is It Missing?
Walking In Love