Loving the Unlovable

One way of understanding what love is and what it means to love is to say that to love something is to see it as we think God would see it— rather than as we, fallen human beings, are inclined to see it. To love something is to see in it the hope and the promise that are in it, which our cynical, tired selves cannot see but which by God’s grace we can see. We do not fail to see the sins and failings, but we also see past them to the hope and the promise. Seeing the sins and failings is therefore not final and fatalistic. We see them but we see beyond them to the possibilities of goodness and forgiveness and redemption. We recognize that “the story’s not over.” We see the hope on the other side of where we are.
So when God in the Bible tells us that we are to love our enemies, he is not telling us to love what is evil, or to love the evil in our enemies. He is telling us to love what is beyond that, to love the goodness in them that he sees and that he put there. He is telling us that if we love that good thing, it will grow. If we look at that— via the “better angels of our nature”— we will feed it and thereby also starve what is evil. In other words, what we love we change toward the good— by loving it. That is the only path forward, if we care about what is good. We must choose what we look at; and we must choose what we look beyond. But if our focus is on what is ugly and evil and dark, we will strangely strengthen the ugly and evil and dark.

Metaxas, Eric. If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (pp. 230-231). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


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