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Jesus declared we are able to love our enemies. Why? Is it because if we can learn to love our enemies, we can love others for whom we have no affinity or who wronged us. If so, there is a condition to this. In this episode, we examine what love is and what it is not along with practical ways to apply actions to help with fulfilling the command to love GOD and others...
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Hope’s Harbor Gritty Bible Devotions
Title: Fruit of the Spirit – Love – A Tough Requirement – Part 1 of 2
Date: November 22, 2021
Key verse(s): 1Corinthians 13:13– ‘And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’
Matthew 5:44– “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
Intro: The first of two key verses, 1Corinthians 13:13, comes at the end of a passage many Christians are familiar with. 1Corinthians 13 is the love chapter of the Bible, meaning Paul wrote a detailed account of love in action. He then summarizes with vs 13 declaring love is the greatest of faith or hope.
I want us to see one of the more difficult practices love requires us, no, more so, the Son of GOD requires us to fulfill and that is to love our enemies.
To fulfill this command of Jesus it helps to understand what it means to ‘love your enemies,’ and what it does not mean.
Devotion focus: Is it possible to love our enemies?
Luke 6:27 – "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”
Luke 6:35 – “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Luke 6:36 – “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
Jesus lets us know He understands any objection we may have concerning loving our enemies. Listen carefully to Luke 6:32:
Luke 6:32 - "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
Let’s examine what loving our enemies is not – it is not allowing an abuser to have his or her way by violence – it is not allowing someone to assault us or a loved one, and for me as a former police officer, it is not to allow an assault against an innocent person. It is not to fail to serve in our armed forces if called upon. Besides, military service is so broad there are plenty of non-combat roles to fill.
With that out of the way, loving our enemies may involve looking out for their safety and/or welfare when it’s in our power to help them.
There have been plenty of instances in war where military personnel rendered kindness to the enemy, usually POW’s. That would be enemy POW’s.
But there have been incidents where the enemy rendered kindness to US military personnel.
What I’m about to describe was an act of love, but could have caused major problems for the enemy pilot involved.
This pilot encountered a low flying, heavily damaged B17 bomber.
The fighter pilot, who was also an ace, could have shot down the bomber for an easy kill, instead flew up beside the damaged plane and motioned to the bomber pilot. He then escorted the bomber to the North Sea, saluted his enemy and flew away.
The link is to an interview in 1990 when the two pilots met 47 years after the event.
I’ve also included an image from a painting of that encounter and informati&l