Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, but how can he expect us to love the unlovable like the fanatical terrorists who killed almost 3,000 people on 9/11 or the gunman responsible for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Yet, Jesus told us to, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” and “Love one another as I have loved you.”
These are not suggestions, proposals for our consideration or motions for a vote. Love your neighbor, period, exclamation mark!
But Jesus whipped the money lenders, called the Pharisees’ vipers brood and threatened harm those who kept the children from him.
I conclude that having compassion for my neighbor (agape love) does not require me to forgive rapists, terrorists, murderers, then set them free. As every parent understands, love for our children also involves rules, obedience and discipline.
Thomas Kempis whose book The Imitation of Christ inspired John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace wrote:
"To love someone you don’t like for the Lord’s sake is to walk as the saints should walk."
And it is a commandment that came right from the Son of God himself!