Love has been the anchor of Christianity – and this has made Christianity a difficult and a unique religion in my perspective. (Matt 22:37; 39) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (NIV) This may sound easy when we try to ignore the true meaning of neighbor. It becomes difficult when it comes to our reactions towards our enemies and those who persecute us: But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 43“You have heard that it was said; ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:39; 43-44 NIV)
Paul with the same tune addresses Christians in Rome that; 20…. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…” (Rom 12:20 NIV) It may sound easy when the gravity of the pains inflicted on us by our enemies is light – but it will be difficult when someone caused the death of your loved ones for example. This is the beauty of Christianity, no religion on earth gives its followers commandment such as this.
Oliver Clement on “The Difficult Love” sets the foundation of love in its truest and spiritual sense. He said that; “love has to be unselfish, founded on respect, a service, a disinterested affection that does not ask to be paid in return, a sympathy, indeed an empathy that takes us out of ourselves enabling us to feel with the other person and indeed to feel in him or her.” This is what is called true love (Agape). Oftentimes we wish to be called or be recognized as sons of God or disciples of Christ – we do that by displaying our prodigies of miracles and preaching the word, we forget about the most essential thing – LOVE. Love is a command and if it is, it is a must. Jesus speaks to his disciples that; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
What make Christian’s love difficult is; we are expected to love every person in the world in a way that God loves the world, Isaac of Nineveh advised; Brother, I recommend this to you: ‘let the weight of compassion in you weigh the scale down until you feel in your heart the same compassion that God has for the world.’ Is this possible? Moses and Paul are good examples: Moses speaks to God in Ex. 32:32 “But now, please forgive their sin — but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” (NIV) Paul in the same way state that; “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers …” (Rom 9:3 NIV) God in his compassion gave his only begotten son (Jesus) to die in our place (John 3:16). Our true love should lead us to loving and uniting with everyone.
1. Do not let yourself be defeated, but triumph hatred with love. This is the way to do it, by praying to God sincerely over your brother who annoys you to hatred.
2. Do not seek by blaming your brother to justify your culpable aversion, but continue faithfully praising him, even if you are overcome with annoyance.
3. Do not wound your brother with ambiguous words, les he pay you back in your coin, and both of you depart from sentiments of charity
4. Do not for your part, retire to rest with the feeling of bitterness towards him, but go and be reconciled with your brother.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God. Phil 1:9-11 NIV
Martin H. Kamaidan
Saved by Grace