“God is love.” It’s one of the most quoted sentences in the New Testament. There is a great gap, however, between what the Apostle John meant when he wrote it and how we often hear it. The word love carries a lot of cultural baggage. In our modern, Western minds the word conjures ideas of romantic infatuation, gooey feelings, and sweet sentimentality. We think of love as a soft, gentle emotion.
Therefore, when we read Jesus’ command to “love your enemy” it becomes almost impossible to comprehend what he means. Enemies do not naturally provoke gooey feelings of infatuation or sentimentality. In order to grasp Jesus’ command we must first have our vision of love recalibrated.
The sort of love Christ calls us to engages far more than emotion; it activates the will. Apart from any feelings, which few of us can control, real love means to will the good of another person. To love is to act in a manner that is in the best interests of another even if the person resists the action. This means love may take forms that differ greatly from our cultural expectations. As Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”
To love our enemy, therefore, is to actively seek what is in our enemy’s best interest—even if he does not agree (which may explain why he is our enemy in the first place). Ultimately, this call to love our enemy is no different than the many other commands of Scripture. Jesus always insists that the citizens of his kingdom put the interests of others ahead of their own, even if that other is our enemy.
via Skye Jethani (With God Daily, 2-27-16)