Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by our love (John 13:35). Love is very important to God. We are told to love one another (Romans 13:8). In fact, we are to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). God knows it may be hard for us to love, so He makes it the first fruit of the Spirit to help us (Galatians 6:23).
You don’t need to be a Christian long to know love is important in the kingdom. It is in fact the most valuable currency in the kingdom (1 Corinthians 13:13). But, what makes love so hard?
What is the Greatest Enemy of Love?
- Sin? Sin is an easy answer for the cause of anything bad. Yes, sin is partly the answer, but love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Other people’s sin cannot hinder our love.
- Evil? Again, evil is partly the answer as the enemy of love is evil. Still we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), and there is no greater good than love.
- Fear? Fear can keep us from offering our love, but perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
- Hatred? Hatred is the opposite of love and the enemy does act out of hatred. However, all hatred has a root. You can’t stop hatred without identifying that cause.
- Satan? Ah yes, the Sunday school answer. He can surely encourage us away from love, but he can never stop our love. The fact that we would chose love without expecting anything in return is unfathomable to him.
The Greatest Enemy of Love is Unforgiveness
Choosing to hold onto unforgiveness is a choice to withhold our love from someone. Jesus gives us a glance of what the kingdom of God is like in the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18: 21-35).
Out of mercy the master assumes the massive debt that the servant owed. The servant then goes out and demands payment from a fellow servant for a relatively minor debt. The master finds out, gets mad, and throws the servant in prison to be tortured. Then Jesus follows the parable by saying this is what the Heavenly Father will do to those who don’t forgive.
This is how Satan can outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). If he can get us to hold onto unforgiveness, he has a right to torture us. Therefore he will agitate offenses with you and others. He will tell you how unfair things are. He will promote offenses. He will do whatever he can to encourage us to not forgive others.
Relationships are More Important to God Than You Being Wronged
As in the parable, God expects us to forgive. If someone strikes you on your cheek, turn to him your other as well (Luke 6:29-30). Loving others are more important to God than you being proven right. If someone can’t repay you for their wrong or doesn’t feel they have wronged you, you are to assume the pain and cost of the offense.
We are not to fight back or retaliate. We are to go to God for our comfort and allow Him to protect and repay us (Romans 12:19). He is a good father.
- Forgiving and forgetting are not the same thing.
- Forgiving and renewing trust are not the same.
Forgiving is not holding the person’s sin against them. You love them where they are. If they don’t want a relationship with you, don’t make them. We are just to always allow a way for the relationship to be restored and trust to be rebuilt. You are to always keep your love flowing to others. I know it is hard, but we can do it because God has done it for us.“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-19