Why do we fight? Moreover, why do we kill each other? Our bloody human history shows enough for our cruelty. Even in the prehistoric period, murder was one of the top causes of death. In the modern-day period, we experienced various genocides and massacres. Even on the small scales, cruelty is everywhere, from bullies to hate crimes to riots.
We thought we were kind and knew how to love each other. But the truth is we do so out of our selfishness. By loving one (often part of ourselves and self-indulgence), we hate another.
All religions, ideologies, and sociocultural classifications seem to enhance such love and hate activities. We love one to hate others and hate others to love one. Both are inseparable. It is so easy for us to create our enemies out of our false love.
False love creates false enemies. And both are false. That is why Jesus challenges us as follows:
You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.Matthew 5:43-44
Is it impossible? Yes, it is. Because the enemies are those whom we define so, they are in the category we can’t love. As long as we are ourselves, it is impossible. Jesus knows this impossibility. He added:
Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:45-48
We can’t love our enemies unless and until we act like our Father in heaven. That is part of the heavenly affairs. We can’t love our enemies as long as we are ourselves.
Real love is not from us. It is from God. We can never love, but God alone loves us. So, John says as follows:
My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him.1 John 4:7
If we realize the difference between our love/hate and His love, we could be ready to surrender ourselves.
God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him.1 John 4:8
How do we know God is love? Seeing the world with selfless eyes, we could feel a sense of awe. And, we can see His love from His true humility and sacrifice.
God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.1 John 4:9-11
Let me repeat the words of John. “Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us.” And, as long as we are ourselves, we can never see God. So, John added:
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.1 John 4:12
Image by Luke Lawreszuk