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Question

 

Hi gramps,

In the scripture Matthew 5:44 it says we should love our enemies and seeing how Satan is Heavenly Father and Jesus’ enemy, does that mean that they love him?

Sally

 

Answer

 

Sally,

No, that is not what it means. Never confuse the commandment to love our enemies with the idea of loving Satan. The former is Godly, while the latter is the very definition of Satanic.

Previous related answer: Is God’s love unconditional?

The term “love” has no real meaning without expression. If I “love” my wife and children but do absolutely nothing to make their lives better, of what effect is my “love”? What does it even mean? Similarly, how can God express love to a filthy, horrific, irredeemable soul such as Satan or his follower? God’s greatest, probably only, expression of love toward such beings is to cast them far away into eternal darkness, where they will dwell forever in their filth and not be subjected to the painful light of truth.

In every meaningful sense, God’s love refers to the gifts he gives. In this sense, God’s love is absolutely and without doubt conditional. in 2003, President (at that time, Elder) Nelson wrote:

While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures. On the other hand, many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us—and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional.

Satan and those who follow him remove themselves from the conditions of God’s divine gifts. In other words, they reject what is freely offered to them. They reject the love of God.

Consider Helaman 15:3-4, which reads:

“...the people of Nephi hath [God] loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them. But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually, and this because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers.”

The love of God toward the Nephites refers specifically to God’s blessings toward them, including even God’s chastening of them—yes, divine chastening and punishment is an act of love, for the which we should be grateful. The “hatred” of God toward the Lamanites clearly refers to how God did not, indeed could not, bless them. They were outside the covenant, and thus God could not protect them, or in other words, give them the blessings of his love. For to love someone is to bless and do good to that person. God loves all who will accept his gifts; we are required to do the same.

The commandment to “love thine enemy” is given to us in this mortal probation, when our “enemies” are our brethren and sisters. In this state, the eternal laws of justice are temporarily held back while we are given the freedom to choose what our hearts desire. Eventually, justice will inexorably reassert itself. But during this brief period of reprieve, we get to choose without the immediate feedback of the demands of justice. Even Jesus Christ himself, the God of all creation, said to a woman taken in the very act of adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee.” This life is not a time of condemnation. It is a time of hope, of learning, and of choosing. Our so-called enemies now are still our brothers and our sisters in spirit, and may eventually be won over to become, not enemies, but brothers and sisters in Christ. While hope of divine reconciliation exists, we are to love and serve (but I repeat myself) all with a God-like love, be they family, friends, or enemies.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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