If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”  (Romans 12:20-21)

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies!  Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.  Do to others as you would like them to do to you.  If you love only those who love you, why should you get any credit for that?  Even sinners love those who love them!  And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit?  Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit?  Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.  Love your enemies!  Do good to them.  Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.  Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”  (Luke 6:27-36)

Scripture makes one thing absolutely clear about love: it is not a feeling. 

Indeed, in spite of our feelings, we are commanded to love; and by “love”, we are to take Action in the best interest of others whether they are friend or enemy.  Jesus gives specific examples of what loving our enemy looks like.  And he makes it very clear that there is no special credit given to us from heaven when we do good things for and are kind to our friends and those who like us.  The positive reaction from these people is reward in and of itself and those who belong to the world do just as much, as it’s a natural thing to do.  Unless particularly selfish or wicked on some grand level, all humans by instinct do good to those we like and care about.

But when the very thought of an individual provokes a furrowed brow, we are commanded to love.  When our natural reflex at the sight of someone is a snarled lip and tightened muscles, we are commanded to do good to them.  The group of people we don’t fit in with, who make fun of us and belittle us; we are to love them, to bless them even as they curse us.  When we’ve been wronged, mistreated, humiliated, we are to love and to pray for those who hurt us.  We are commanded to be patient and kind to all.  When feelings of jealousy creep into our hearts, when we feel enraged because we didn’t get our way, when we feel irritable and stressed and are tempted to be rude, we are to check these feelings/emotions against our Lord’s command to LOVE.  Through every circumstance, we are to love.

By human standards this is impossible.  We need only to look at the turmoil of the whole world to see the effects of the world system without love. No matter the philosophy or religion, the outcome is the same: turmoil and destruction is caused by the absence of love.

Success in obeying this command to love requires SUPERNATURAL help and intervention.  Love is the great separator of the Followers of the Crucified One and the rest of the world.   The Christian is the only creature on earth who has been given the gift of the Holy Spirit of God, Who takes up residence inside of us when we believe in Christ Jesus and are born again (by professing our belief and being baptized).  It is the Holy Spirit Who intercedes for us and makes the impossible possible.  And herein lies the mystery of love; it is the essence of God Himself, Who is kind and compassionate to all, especially those who are unthankful and wicked.  Love is the most powerful weapon we possess against evil and against our true enemy Satan.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.  For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures.  Muscle can split a shield and even destroy life but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of men and until I master this art I will remain no more than a peddler in the market place.  I will make love my greatest weapon and none on whom I call can defend against its force.  My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject; and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.  I will greet this day with love in my heart.  And how will I do this?  Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again.  I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit.  I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.  I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.  I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.  I will greet this day with love in my heart.  And how will I speak?  I will laud mine enemies and they will become friends; I will encourage my friends and they will become my brothers.  Always will I dig for reasons to applaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip.  When I am tempted to criticize I will bite on my tongue; when I am moved to praise I will shout from the roofs.  Is it not so that birds, the wind, the sea and all nature speaks with the music of praise for their creator?  Cannot I speak with the same music to his children? Henceforth will I remember this secret and it will change my life. I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I act?  I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden.  With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.  I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me! I will love the failures for they can teach me.  I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine.  I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share.  I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.  I will greet this day with love in my heart.  But how will I react to the actions of others?  With love.  For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger.  Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains.  My shield will protect me in the market place and sustain me when I am alone.  It will uplift me in moments of despair yet it will calm me in time of exultation.  It will become stronger and more protective with use until one day I will cast it aside and walk unencumbered among all manners of men and, when I do, my name will be raised high on the pyramid of life.  I will greet this day with love in my heart.  And how will I confront each whom I meet?  In only one way.  In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You.  though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkled my brow, bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened.  And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love?  And most of all I will love myself.  For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart.  Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation.  Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair, rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages.  Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer.  Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter, rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.  I will greet this day with love in my heart.  Henceforth will I love all mankind.  From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love.  From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men.  With love I will increase my sales a hundredfold and become a great salesman.  If I have no other qualities I can succeed with love alone.  Without it I will fail though I possess all the knowledge and skills of the world.  I will greet this day with love, and I will succeed.”  (Chapter 9, The Scroll Marked II, “The Greatest Salesman In The World” –by Og Mandino)

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