At a Time of Hate, We Must Love Our Enemies to Keep God’s Favor

In days of rancor and division, it is more important than ever to consider this specific action — even when it's hard

In the Gospel of Luke (Luke 6:27), Jesus says, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”

You’ve probably heard this phrase: “United we stand, divided we fall,” but have you ever asked yourself what exactly unites us as a nation? Can you name anything on which an overwhelming majority of Americans agree?

It’s not easy. When it comes to being united, we certainly aren’t “one” on major issues: religion, economics, education, borders, biology, family structure, parental rights, or free speech. The truth is, we have much division — and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. It’s fair to say we are no longer united on the things that matter most.

So should we throw our hands in the air and kiss our nation goodbye? Is America resigned to a fate of mutually-assured destruction between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and secular humanists and traditional Christians? After all, a recent Rasmussen poll found that most Americans believe political violence is near, and 31 percent believe another civil war is coming within five years.

Jesus said these words in Matthew 24:12: “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.”

Perhaps nothing is more dangerous to our nation than the decline of our love toward one another. But love is not simply accepting people as they are, as current culture would have us believe. We’ve seen a shift in the definition of words, and no word has been more improperly used than the word “love.”

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Christians know what that word really means. We know that love is telling the truth. Love requires sacrifice. Love is willing to be spurned and hated in order to get the right results. And there is no greater example of this than Jesus Christ himself, a man despised and rejected by culture, yet willing to endure the cross to achieve reconciliation. His love cost him everything, but He was willing to live and speak truth.

His love cost him everything, but He was willing to live and speak truth.

The Apostle Paul wrote that the last days would be difficult and people would only love themselves. Nobody agrees completely with anyone else — but when you start hating your neighbor and start loving only yourself, you’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll imprison or kill those with whom you disagree.

A great example of this is soon-to-retire Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. As the man who was often the swing vote on crucial issues, Justice Kennedy held enormous sway. So much sway, in fact, that often we call the high court “Kennedy’s Court.”

For years liberals pushed Kennedy to help sway the balance of power their way on issues like abortion and gay marriage, and the Left cheered him when his tie-breaking votes fell their way. Kennedy was a darling of progressives on many occasions.

But Kennedy has announced his retirement, and since President Donald Trump occupies the White House and subsequently picked his replacement, Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy’s favor has fallen. People on Twitter even called for his assassination. A false love turned to an open hatred. This shift in the hearts of so many people stands as a clear example of a nation waxing cold in love.

We often ask what it will take for God to remove His favor from our country. Is it a particular moral or social failing that will cause the Almighty to pull His spirit away, and leave us to fight until no one is left to write the story? Or is it something else?

Related: Why We Need to Hone This Moral Virtue More Than Ever

Once again, Jesus gives a bit of insight, in Matthew 5:23-24: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”

Being divided is not a problem. We believe in things at our very core, and it would be wrong not to defend those positions with everything inside of us. But let’s add to that passion some love. Not compromise or resignation, but rather a sincere effort to care for those with whom we disagree.

Speak the truth in love. Perhaps God’s favor hangs in the balance.

Steven Solomon is a nationally syndicated radio host, former military intelligence agent, and pastor based in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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