The late Rev. B.T. Smith made a comment once that has really stuck with me: “You have to love those who don’t love you.”
I’m convinced that that is exactly what the Lord would have us do — especially in times like these.
The Bible has predicted that in the last days, the love of many will wax cold. I don’t know about you, but when I look at much of what is going on around the world, I have to say that we are living in the last day. We are facing much unrest and racial tension in our country. Hatred and hate groups are reappearing all over the South.
The saddest thing about all this is that many think that there is nothing wrong. African-Americans who protest that black lives matter are said to promote racial tension. However, I believe that one cannot understand African-Americans unless they have at least walked a mile in their shoes. I have lived long enough to see the injustice and inequality in this country. I have seen the discrimination and segregation in the South. We have come a long way, but believe me, we still have a long way to go. Whereas not everything is related to race, the truth is that some things are. Yet, as Christians we are to continue to walk by faith and love those who don’t love you.
The solution to today’s unrest is not more laws, more gun control or more correctional institutions. We have to love one another. True Godly love will allow you to see more than the color of one’s skin. Love helps you to see all as equal and treat everyone fairly. Most of all, love helps you to love those who don’t love you.
No matter who you are, you have enemies. You have those who will oppress you. You will encounter those who will try to make you feel like you are less than what you are. Jesus said, “Love your enemy and do good to them that hate you.” You have to love those who despise you and speak evil of you.
I know that this seems strange, because the flesh desires to render evil for evil. I really admire the people of the Charleston massacre. They stood on love in spite of the hurt and pain in their lives. They allowed the love of God to come forth in their lives. We, too, must allow God’s love to shine in our lives if we really what things to be different in our lives.
Love may not stop everything from happening to you, but it will give you a new perspective on life. Loving those who don’t love you may not stop police from killing our black young men and women. It may not stop all racism or eliminate these hate groups, but it will please God. Jesus gave us an example of real love on Calvary. Despite what mankind had done to him, he was able to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He loved and died for mankind in spite of the rejection and brutality he received from man.
When I gave my life to the Lord, I was determined to be all I can for the Lord. In fighting for justice and equality, I cannot overlook my commitment to God. We must be able to fight for our rights without compromising our love for others. I must hate the injustice without hating those who violate and disregard my rights as a human being. I have to love those who don’t love me.
I know that hate comes easy. It is the response of the flesh toward the discomforts of life. We have to trust God in everything and know that he will not put any more on us than we can bear. We must not forget that we all must stand before God and be judged. You have to stand for yourself and not for anyone else. When you stand before God, can you honestly tell God that you have loved those who did not love you?
As we continue to pray and fight for equality and justice in our country, let us continue to love one another.
Jackson is the pastor of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the Liberty County United Ministerial Alliance.