Jesus, in one of His teachings admonished us to have love one for the other as believers. He taught that we should love our neighbors and most especially our enemies.
Most Christians if not all are aware of this commandment but when we look around us today, it is the contrary – we see Christians pray against their enemies, asking (in their prayers) that fire consumes them. We have become so conscious of one enemy or the other to the extent that when we are faced with one challenge or the other, we are quick to conclude that someone somewhere should, or is responsible and the bitter prayer begins. We forget and ignore the commandment from Jesus to LOVE our enemies.
Whilst it is usually very easy to love the people we know or are close to, it becomes an uphill task to love the people we don’t know or are not acquainted with. In other words, it is very easy for the husband to love his wife and vice versa; it is easy for parents to love their children – a parent would love his/her child more than he/she would love other children who have no parental ties to them. The present day Pastor loves the one who supports his ministry with money more than the one who does not have that capability. This kind of love becomes or gets personal – we love the said person because we have a reason or benefit tied to our love.
Personal love can therefore be based on romance (love for a member of the opposite sex) or friendship (love based on one reason or benefit). There is something that attracts a man to a woman or vice versa. It could be the attractiveness, rapport, or one of the many other varying things or reasons that attracts a man to a woman. We have failed to remember that from the episode in the Garden of Eden, we all became fallen creatures and as such became imperfect.
So when a man claims to love a woman, he is completely ignorant of the fact that the object of his love is not perfect and when they end up getting married and the imperfect side starts to surface, it becomes very difficult to continue in the love they started with.
The initial love they had for one another was tied to something personal they had for each other. When they find out they have to divorce each other, the love changes, reduces or vanishes. They find it difficult to love the same way again because something has happened that has left a bitter taste on their tongue.
Many today have not been able to find their foot due to the many break-ups, loss of friendships, disloyalty and dishonesty they’ve experienced with people – so we have many who are disgruntled, many who have vowed never to love again and so many with varied resolutions as to why they would never love again. If this can happen between two people who initially were in love, how much more to people we perceive as our enemies. Never! Some would suggest (contrary to the scriptural mandate we were given to love our enemies).
On the contrary, impersonal love is completely different because there is no motive attached to it; it is unconditional towards its object. The motivation for impersonal love is not attractiveness, affiliation or worthiness. Impersonal love is tolerant, unprejudiced, courteous and objective even in the face of hostility and antagonism. It is the attitude of the adult Christian based on an understanding and application of true doctrine. It emphasizes the virtue and spiritual status of the subject (God) rather than its relationship with the object.
Impersonal love is the believer’s unconditional attitude towards everyone he meets. It is the expression of his integrity, which is manifested by tolerance, patience, compassion, and generosity. It excludes prejudice, hypocrisy, insensitivity and rudeness.
Knowing this, we are able to love anyone who comes our way because the Bible instructs us to. We are able to love fellow believers because our love is not tied to anything but the instruction from God. We are able to love our enemies and also our neighbors as we love ourselves.
“We shall not long have love to man if we do not first and chiefly cultivate love to God. I am told that Christians do not love each other. I am very sorry if that were true, but I rather doubt it, for I suspect that those who do not love each other are not Christians. You are no lover of Christ if you do not love his children. As soon as ever the heart is given to the master of the house it is given to the children of the house. Love God and you will soon love all that love him”.
Happy New Year and Be Refreshed!