You’re familiar with the old written law, “Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, “Hate your enemy.” I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best— the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
—Matthew 5:43–46 MSG

I believe we all have a gnawing feeling from time to time that we aren’t living as “fully alive,” or out of our whole heart. Something inside of us screams, “There’s more!”

To live from the heart takes courage. It sounds so easy in theory, but is quite difficult to live out. Our human nature is to self-protect and figure out the safest way to make it through life without getting hurt. But if we are going to live the full life that Christ came to give us, we must live from the heart. John Eldredge says, “The glory of God is man with his heart fully alive.”

To live from the heart takes risk: a risk to love, a risk to stand up for someone, a risk to believe in someone, a risk to enter into someone else’s pain. Love is risky. Christ never asked us to only love those who love us back.

As followers of Christ, we are to bring life everywhere we go. It’s love that frees those around us, not judgment. It’s love that tears walls down.

When Martin Luther King Jr. got involved with the Civil Rights movement he wanted to create a peaceful revolution. Many people told him that would never work. When radical white supremacists bombed Dr. King’s home, he was at home with his wife and young daughter. The blast ripped through their house, tearing off its entire front, narrowly missing his family. Within minutes, angry black militants arrived. They tried to convince Dr. King to fight back with violence. But Dr. King stood on the rubble of his front porch and proclaimed forgiveness for the perpetrators. Dr. King knew he could not fight hate with hate. He had to fight hate with love. Our nation is a better place because of Dr. King and his refusal to hate when it would have been so easy to return evil for evil. He believed that he could make a difference and when tested, he refused to give in.

If we, God’s children, were determined to love and make a difference and woke up each day resolute to bring the kingdom of Heaven to earth, our world would be a better place. 

Make Your Mark
Ask the Lord to show you how to love those
in your life who have hurt you. Ask the Lord to let you see them through His eyes. Choose today to live with a heart fully alive, one that restores others, believes the best, and brings out the good in everyone you encounter.