Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
—Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Love encompasses many positive and profound emotions and whether it’s the kind of love you have for your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, or colleagues — God wants you to love them as you love yourself.
But it doesn’t stop there. God says that people who intentionally hurt you are still worthy of your love.
Not because they deserve it, but because He wants you to “pay it forward. After all, He loves you despite your transgressions, so the least you can do is grant forgiveness and love to your enemies.
The typical pushback I get whenever I make that statement is: “I am not Jesus, and I’m not perfect, so, blah, blah, blah.”
The truth is, God does not expect you to be perfect. However, He has given you the capacity to forgive, so if you don’t forgive and love your enemies — that’s by choice.
I know what you’re thinking: “How can you love a thief, a racist, a lesbian, a white, black, brown, or purple person, an immigrant, someone from a different Church, or a different religion?”
It’s simple, you love them, the same way God loves you — with kindness, empathy, and above all, by choosing to love them.
Start by saying it. Think of the most “unlovable” person you know, and ask God to help you love them. Then say it aloud, repeat it, think about it, meditate on it, and begin to love that person.
The funny thing about not loving someone is that you have more to lose than they do because you’re the one denying God’s will.
Maybe it’s not funny; perhaps it’s just ironic when you think about how much easier your life would be if you treated others the way you want God to treat you.
No matter what you think — you do have the capacity to love everyone. God never has and never will ask you to do something that you’re incapable of doing.
Evidenced by his greatest gift to humanity, God loves you. So if you love Him, you should also love everyone.