But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36
Sometimes things just happen to hit you when you least expect it. Riding in my car on the way to work, which for me is a great time to just meditate on the day ahead and have a conversation with God, this theme kept popping up in my mind. For whatever reason, the thought that was coming up would not get out of my mind. Because of that, I am feeling moved to dive deeper into this, and it lead me to this passage from Jesus’ sermon on the plain.
Today the Holy Spirit led me here. In recent months I have tried not to discredit anything that I feel compelled to do, or any moments that I am in. That being said, this is nothing but a passage on how to love. It has taken me a really long time to understand the true meaning and reasoning behind the fact that Jesus felt the real need to ensure we knew how to love. For years, I have always thought that love is an emotion. Love is something that you feel, right? Doesn’t that mean that it is an emotion and in some points we have no control over that? People always say, “I can’t help it, I love who I love.”, or “I hate them because of….” insert whatever you want there.
Well, if you really look at this, Jesus is pointing out that, indeed all of that may happen, but love, at its core, is a choice. We, as in everyone, is very much in control over who we love, regardless of the reasoning behind that love. I love my family, that love is my choice. I could, just as easily hate them. The reasoning behind that love is because they are in fact just that, my family. I choose everyday to have a deeper love of God. I could, just like I have before, choose to hate Him. The same things for everyone in my life that has done something to spite me. I can just hate them, for whatever reason I decide to choose, or I can do something bold and actually love them.
Do not get this confused with liking. I can love someone who has been my enemy for years, but that does not, in any way shape or form, leave the door open for me to like the actions that were taken towards me. It does, however, give me the release of the burden of hatred. It takes so much work to have that much anger towards someone. Yes, it is true, the hatred you are carrying for someone, for whatever that reason is, it is weighing you down, and can lead you down a very dark road if you let it. I know in my case, having that burden running in the background only adds fuel to the depression. I can not begin to count the number of times that I have been pushed into a depressive episode because I did not let something go or let the burden of hating someone who wronged me fall by the wayside.
In the end, love and hate are choices we make, and we are in full control of them. It was important enough for Jesus to teach on multiple occasions, so, I am sure it is important for us to understand that to it’s fullest extent.