You’ve probably heard at church or youth group at some point that you should love others. But you may have wondered, what does that look like? What does it really mean to love others, and what does it look like to love your enemy?
The answer to that question, is that love looks different. It looks different than what you see on TV. It looks different than what you hear in the hallways at school. True love, the way God meant it, looks way different than the way we see it portrayed. Many times, the definition of love on TV or school goes something like this: I’ll love you if you can do something for me, or if you can give something to me. However, this isn’t the meaning of loving others that the Bible describes.
This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. – 1 John 4:10(God’s Word)
This verse in 1 John describes love as something different than what we see at school and on TV. It shows us that God defines love differently. God didn’t wait for us to be able to give Him something for Him to love us. God loved us first. He loved us and gave before we even knew Him. Then God challenges us to take the love He gave to us and show that love to others.
Loving others isn’t based upon how others treat us. Its based on God’s love and grace which empowers us to then love others. We are to love others and value them, not because they have done anything to deserve it, but because its the example God showed us first. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says it this way:
“The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behavior must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
So choose to love others. Treat them with respect and love, not based on what they can do for you, or how they treat you, but rather based on how God treated us!