Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Real Test of Love

Deerfield, Michigan
My ongoing prayer for myself is that I would love not only those who love me but those who are neutral towards me, and those who would want to nuke me. Henri Nouwen writes:

"One of the reasons why so many people have developed strong reservations about the peace movement is precisely that they do not see the peace they seek in the peacemakers themselves... The tragedy is that peacemakers often reveal more of the demons they are fighting than of the peace they want to bring about." (Nouwen, The Road to Peace, 41)

I don't want to be like this. Yet parts of me hold on to hatred and bitterness as dark residual organs secrete their bile when my expectations are unmet. A yet-deeper work is still to be accomplished in me that will result in a wider and higher and longer love.

The real test of love is: love for the enemy.

"The words of Jesus go right to the heart of our struggle: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly" (Luke 6:27-28). The more I reflect on these words, those more I consider them to be the test for peacemakers. What my enemies deserve is not my anger, rejection, resentment, or disdain, but my love. Spiritual guides throughout history have said that love for the enemy is the cornerstone of the message of Jesus and the core of holiness." (Nouwen, Ib.)

What is the way of such love? How can this be formed in me? I see two ways.


  • I will choose to act loving towards others, even my enemies.
  • I will choose to serve up good things to those who hate me.
  • I will choose to bless those who curse me, in my private thoughts and with my public words.
  • I will choose to pray for those who treat me badly.
  • I will live the abiding life in Christ, the result of which will be a fruit-bearing life, among which will be love and peace.
  • In the branch-to-Vine connection Christ will be formed in me.