First let us define what we are saying when we use the word love. The definition that we all use for love is “An intense emotional attachment”, but the Greeks had more than one word that we translate as love and they have different meanings.

God does not break His own laws and He tells us to love our enemies, so He also must love His enemies. But does He mean that we must have an intense emotional attachment for them as we think of love?

The answer that seems right to me as I study the Bible is “No He does not mean love as we understand love”.

The Greek word used when we are told to love our enemies is “agapao” which means to love in a social or moral sense. In other words, or my words, it means to “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. That is the basis of the God’s law for dealing with other humans. It is not the same as an intense emotional attachment.

Again I ask “Does God love everyone?” and the Bible answers that question very clearly. (Mal 1:2-3 NIV)  “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” In other words God did not, or does not have an intense emotional attachment to Esau.

God honored the second royal law when He blessed Esau with earthly things when Esau was physically alive on this earth. And God will only grant the wish of those who did not want to live with Him when He judges them at the end of this age.

I would say “Do not make the statement ‘Love the sinner, but hate the sin’, because in our language it does not convey the correct meaning. Just stick with what the Bible says and say “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. That is the formula for world peace and it is found in no other place, but the Word of God.


  1. anokte says:

    Love might not have to be a very strong attachment, I agree with you there. But what about generally feeling compassion for others and trying to identify with them? You can do unto others without particularly liking them, but they’ll still feel the chill from you. Does that matter? You are hitting on some interesting stuff.

  2. astudent says:


    I believe “Do to others as you would have them do to you” covers compassion for others.
    If you mean try to understand them and what they do when you say identify with them then yes I think we should do so. I would want others to have compassion for me and I would want them to try to understand me.
    I would have to ask what chill would anyone feel who is treated as I would like to be treated?
    If you try to act as if you have love, as we use the word, and we do not aren’t we being untrue? Isn’t it better just to do to others as we want them to do us and let the feelings build into an emotional attachment? Perhaps it will not, but it is not in our power to make someone love us.
    I do not speak for God, but it seems to me that is the attitude He takes. Even though He can make anyone love Him, He does not. It is up to the individual to come to his or her senses and begin to understand, which will lead to a deep love for God.
    That is consistent with the second royal law, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. It is born in us that we do not want anyone making us do anything and God respects that trait. After all, He made us that way!

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