Can you love someone you hate?
As a Christian, yes. That’s what some people don’t understand about Christian discipleship. They say that going to church and following Jesus are things you do to escape the hardships of life. We’re scared, so we hide in church.
Yes, God is our hiding place, but if we’re serious about following Jesus, that doesn’t remove us from the uncertainties of the world. In a way, our trust in God puts us right in the middle of the world’s mess. Along the way, you’re going to know someone that’s hard to love.
Some of us have difficulty using the word hate. That’s good. Save it for when it’s the right word to use. Hate what is evil.
Many of us also don’t consider that we have enemies. My impression is we reserve enemies to describe nations and wartime activities. We say, “The enemy evaded us.”
But one definition of enemy is: a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.
The word comes from the Latin inimicus, meaning not friend.
And I bet that sounds more like a few people you’ve known. Even in church!
So, what’s our response to those people? Well, first, I’m sure there are moments we wish we could do over. Words we would take back. Comments that were best left unsaid. Sometimes they went overboard and other times you were the button pusher.
If you’re going to love someone you hate, you’re going to need forgiveness. You’re going to need to learn to offer and receive forgiveness. I haven’t met too many people who find that to be first on their to-do list.
It’s almost like it’s kind of a hard thing to do.
Other people may find it best to return hate with hate. The Christian heart cannot be comfortable with that. Blessed are the peacemakers and the ones who turn the other cheek. It’s hard to do that than it is to retaliate.
So, is it possible to love someone you hate, someone who is your enemy? Of course it is. God wouldn’t tell us to do it if it wasn’t.
Knowing that God calls us to love our enemies and that it’s possible to do, there are a few better questions to ask. What makes loving enemies so difficult to do? What makes returning hate so easy to do? What needs to change in our heart, your heart to breed a desire and ability to do such a kingdom task?
Love someone who loves you first and Jesus says big whoop. Love someone who actively opposes you or is hostile to you, that’s abundant life in Jesus’ name.