“You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-4).
Sometimes, the one who pushes you away with the most force is the one who needs you the most. When we’re dealing with people who despise us for loving Jesus, it’s hard to imagine that the Lord wants anything to do with such people. They hate Christians, and they’re repulsed by the Word of God, and yet, the Father points at them and says, “I want you to love them.” We might be tempted to ask, “Are you sure?” But God turns no one away, and it’s not His will that any should be left behind.
Perhaps Paul is one of the greatest examples of someone who was wholeheartedly against God. Paul admits that he is the chief among sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), referring to when he had pursued Christians ruthlessly, turning in and killing hundreds of people who believed in Jesus. Paul pushed against God, but God pursued him nonetheless, and out of all the evangelists and disciples of the early church, no one fought harder to win lost souls to Christ than Paul.
The one who pushes away the most is often the one who God wants you to pursue. There’s a reason why they fight so hard against you—the enemy doesn’t want to let them loose. Satan keeps a tight grip on them, and there’s so much hell inside them that it makes them rotten. It makes them cringe and sneer at you because the Spirit in you makes the hell in them tremble. Paul became the greatest evangelist the world ever knew, because once he tasted God’s freedom, there was no going back. He was willing to serve the Lord even if it cost him everything.
When someone has lived in darkness their whole life and suddenly, they see how beautiful the mercy of God is, the enemy is shaken because that person will do whatever it takes to save those who are still stuck in darkness. One of your enemies could be a Paul. Perhaps they just need someone to love them that much. Be the one who refuses to leave them behind.
Keep pursuing them. Keep loving them. You never know what kind of influence they’ll have in the kingdom of God.