From the parables told during Holy Week to the obvious display from the cross—Easter is about showing love to your enemies. God never asks us to do something He does not do Himself. In fact, the Christian life is about becoming more and more like Christ. During Easter Jesus’ very existence displays His love for enemies. You see we are all His enemies. Every last one of us! Isaiah 53:6 sums up the truth about us all:
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah included himself in that statement. He was following God as well as he was able, yet he fell far short of righteousness. He too was an enemy of God. He too needed a Savior!
Loving an enemy like Isaiah is reasonable. After all, it is clear he was doing the very best he could. You love people like that in your life. They may let you down or fail to fulfill what they promised, but you can conclude that they were giving it their best shot. You love them anyway. That’s good. That is a start. It is clear that Jesus loved His fallen, finite and fouled-up disciples in that way too.
Jesus demonstrates a love for enemies that goes far deeper than that. Jesus showed how to love those enemies who blatantly hate, accuse and mistreat you. Perhaps you believe you do not have enemies like that. If you are not aware of those kinds of enemies, it may be because your way of dealing with them is to repress thoughts of them and not consider their existence. You cage them up in a box and exist as if they are not part of your world.
God invites you to do more than that. He wants to use the feeling you have about your enemies to teach you true love and to show you who your true enemy is. If you face the anger you have inside about people who hurt you or those you love, you will feel trapped by them. Your anger gives them a place to hold you in a prison. When you turn your anger over to God, He tells you to forgive these same ones who have hurt you so deeply so that your soul does not become darkened by their deeds. You are invited to live totally free from the darkness enemies cast in your soul. Through forgiving your enemies, you receive spiritual light that becomes obvious to the world. Genuine forgiveness of others helps you gain deeper insight into the power of God’s forgiveness of your own sins.
Walk with Jesus during Holy Week and you will witness firsthand how to love your enemies. He wants you to live like Him. He shows you how to do it. He doesn’t avoid His enemies. He answers them when they approach Him. He is not afraid to speak the truth strongly to them. He loves them to the end. Even from the cross interceding for them to be forgiven, because they do not know what they are doing. Your enemies cannot see clearly that they are being used as pawns of Satan to attempt to destroy the indestructible love of God.
Why does God want you to love your enemies? It seems twofold to me. The first reason is to deepen your understanding of your forgiven state before God. The second is to recognize that your human enemies are not your true enemies. The enemy of your soul is not a human. It is the devil. You are no match for that enemy; however, Jesus has taken care of that for you. Through the hard work of the cross, He has destroyed Satan’s power over you. Paul taught us how to fight our true enemy in Ephesians 6. We do this through the armor of God. Let God transform your soul through love of your human enemies!