Today, we are called to follow in His footsteps. We should love others as our Lord Jesus Christ loves us. Do good to those who hate us. Bless those who curse us. Pray for those who mistreat us.
When the prodigal son finally returns home, almost everyone celebrates the return. The older son refuses to join in the festivities. Unlike the father, he refuses to forget about his brother's former wrongdoings. Jealousy keeps him from offering forgiveness. The older son chooses to be blind to how he's actually the more blessed son, one who was never away from the comforts of his father's home. We must not be like the older son. The Bible tells us that love is patient and kind. The older son exemplifies neither. Love does not envy and is not proud. The older son fails here as well.
God has lofty expectations. Asking us to love those who love us would not be asking for much. Even mean people do that. God demands us to take things a step further. Not only must we love those who are kind to us, we must love those who hate us, those same people who make it their life mission to make our lives miserable. Like the Lord Jesus Christ, we must love without expectation of receiving anything in return. We must learn to love unconditionally. Only when we can look at our mortal enemies without any sense of bitterness do we truly learn to love our God.
"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this command we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (1 Jn 4:20-21)