Be honest… who would you secretly enjoy seeing fail?
Maybe someone burned you in the past, like an individual or family who caused division among people you care about. Perhaps you’ve let another person become a rival, allowing whatever they have to keep you from enjoying what you have.
Bitterness is a thorn. Comparison is a leech. Both will keep you from serving others with a full heart.
This is where the third kind of love Jesus spoke about comes in.
Christianity is known for a great statement Christ made. In it, he mentioned two types of love that summarize what he deemed to be the most important commandments:
- First love: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
- Second love: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
These first two types of love get a lot of press in the church, and rightfully so. There’s a third type of love that really defines how that plays out, though.
- Third love: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)
Jesus said this in different ways on a number of occasions.
Love your enemies.
It’s unheard of! It’s anti-karma! Why would you do this?
Christ modeled it…and the church can’t survive without it.
Christianity is the only faith that promotes extending grace to those who hurt you.
Maybe you saw the picture of the Denver Broncos players who joined Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mike Morgan for a post-game prayer before celebrations. That’s just over a competitive football game, and yet it’s easy to see how there’s something “right” about that.
That inner affirmation comes from the heart of God himself.
I get it. It’s not easy to apply this when your senior pastor comes across as a bully, the church leadership has it in for you or a parent makes a 10-second statement that undermines all the good you’ve done in a year.
Nonetheless, these three commandments to “love God,” “love your neighbor as yourself” and to “love your enemies” are no less appropriate today than they were centuries ago coming out of the lips of Christ himself. Can you actually picture him saying them?
Here’s the good news.
As difficult as it may be to do this, there is an even more difficult command that will help you nail it.
(You may need to read that again. Yes, God’s upside-down Kingdom tends to work that way.)
Here it is: “O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!” (Psalm 103:2, The Message)
In plain English, count your blessings.
That just may be the most impossible thing the Bible asks us to do. How in the world could you ever begin to count how blessed you are?
Try it. Right now.
Feeling generally blessed helps you to become a general blessing. Realizing the unlimited depths of how blessed you are helps you become a blessing without a limits.
Christians have a reputation of following the broken pattern in this world of maintaining tension, getting vicious with others, playing games that minimize trust and insisting that we come out on top. In contrast, Jesus accepted dinner invitations from the very people who ended up critical of him and showed how easy it is to be in the company of someone who stands against you, with you or away from you.
Quit whining. Stop comparing. You’re so stinking blessed.
Start living in that awareness, and start serving your enemies through the very type of love you keep waiting for them to share with you.
They don’t have to bless you for you to bless them. God already has the standard. Get out there and show them how it’s done.
Thank you for loving students!