Of all the things that believers and non-believers alike admire about Jesus Christ, his teaching on love stands out as being uniquely amazing. God demonstrated through the teaching of Jesus Christ that love is to be given to all people regardless of their desire to return that love. While preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the extent of love to his hearers when he said in Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV):
You have heard that it was said “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus turned conventional wisdom of love upside down when he instructed his followers to be people of love, even to those people who are persecuting you. This is in direct contrast to what we are naturally inclined to do. If I were to know that if I knocked on your door that you would punch me in the face, would I choose to knock on your door? Would I willingly subject myself to persecution? The obvious answer is, no. However, Jesus claims that we should be willing to suffer, even a nose punch, to demonstrate love and kindness to an enemy.
I challenged our students to think of who the person in their life is that they have been unloving toward. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was that hate is in the relationship, I challenged them to begin to show kindness to that person. The goal is not to make some kind of a friend with them, but rather to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ (which he demonstrated on the cross for our sins) to another person. Perhaps as a parent you should do the same. Who is your enemy? How can you show God’s love, which you received graciously, to that person?