Luke 6:27-36 (New International Reader's Version)
27 "But here is what I tell you who hear me. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who call down curses on you. And pray for those who treat you badly.
29 "Suppose someone hits you on one cheek. Turn your other cheek to him also. Suppose someone takes your coat. Don't stop him from taking your shirt.
30 "Give to everyone who asks you. And if anyone takes what belongs to you, don't ask to get it back. 31 Do to others as you want them to do to you.
32 "Suppose you love those who love you. Should anyone praise you for that? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And suppose you do good to those who are good to you. Should anyone praise you for that? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And suppose you lend money to those who can pay you back. Should anyone praise you for that? Even a 'sinner' lends to 'sinners,' expecting them to pay everything back.
35 "But love your enemies. Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will receive a lot in return. And you will be sons of the Most High God. He is kind to people who are evil and are not thankful. 36 So have mercy, just as your Father has mercy.
Yesterday we talked about "true love". I stated, "true love is an ACTION word. To really love someone, you have to do something. You have to make a decision that you are going to exhibit and demonstrate a certain behavior towards someone else. You have to truly care about other people and what happens to them, like them or not."
To understand the verse in 1 John from yesterday about love as well as today's passage, you need to have an understanding about the original Greek version of the Bible that we have translated into English. In Ancient Greek, the English word "love" had four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. "Agápe" referred to a general affection or deeper sense of "true love" rather than physical attraction suggested by "eros"; philía denoted a general type of friendship love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity; and
storgē meant "affection" or natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring, always in a familial sense.*
The Ancient Greek word "agápe" is the one used in the passages from yesterday and today, and is described here and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love, or charity. C.S. Lewis, the 20th Century Christian author, stated in his book Four Loves that "agápe" is the love that brings forth caring regardless of circumstance. Lewis recognizes this as the greatest of loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue. The chapter on the subject focuses on the need of subordinating the natural loves to the love of God, who is full of charitable love.*
We are called to excercise charitable sacrificial love to everyone, regardless of the circumstances, exhibiting the qualities of Jesus Christ. Jesus was very clear that although he did not necessarily like the behavior, character, or attitudes of those around him, he willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of all. We are called to extend a similar love, no matter how difficult. I am not saying to purposely place your self into situations just to exhibit "Christ-like love", but when we are confronted with these situations, we are to always approach it "in agápe love", in care and charity for the other person.
As Jesus said, "Suppose you love those who love you. Should anyone praise you for that? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And suppose you do good to those who are good to you. Should anyone praise you for that? Even 'sinners' do that." He calls us to be exceptional in our love, loving the "un-lovable" no matter what.
* References on subjects here noted are taken from Wikepedia.