We tend to use the word "love" when "like" is not enough. We like chicken nuggets but we love ice cream! We like one friend, but we love that other one!
The problem is...that's not how God uses the word "love" in the Bible. When God calls us to love, he doesn't mean we need to like something or someone more. His definition of love is something much more beautiful.
Jesus knew that people had a misunderstanding of love, so he explained it this way...
"You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:43-44).
Jesus understands that we will have enemies. We will have people in our lives who are not our friends. So, he isn't asking us to like them more. He is asking us to love them even though they don't like us...and even though we might not like them.
Love cannot be just a stronger feeling of like, then, can it? Fortunately, Jesus also told a story to help us understand what loving our enemies looks like. He told the story of a man who was robbed and beaten and left at the side of the road. Three people came, but only one helped. And here's the amazing part of that story. The man who helped was the injured man's enemy.
You see, God does not ask us to love based on how we feel or how well other people treat us. God asks us to love because he loves us. And here's the thing...we are enemies of God. I know, it sounds harsh, right? But the truth is, we do things God does not like. So, we are his enemies. But God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to help. He sent Jesus, like that man in the story who helped his injured enemy, to show us that God's love is stronger than our sin. It is stronger than anything...so strong that nothing can separate us from it.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. Romans 8:38
God truly loves us so deeply that when we realize it, we cannot help but see it overflow toward others in our lives...even our enemies.
Read Luke 10:25-37
This is the story Jesus told about loving our enemies...known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. What all did the Samaritan do for the injured man? Why do you think Jesus included these details?
Make a piece of art inspired by God's love. Use any materials you like, and consider adding one of the Bible verses above or another verse of your own choosing.
Think of one small way you can show God's love to someone who is not your friend this week and do it. If you need help, pray and ask God to guide you.