Selfless Love When Treated Unfairly

Read Ephesians 4:25-5:2 

Ephesians 4 concludes with calling us to some specific things in order that: “…you should no longer walk as the rest of the nations walk, in the futility of their mind…” but rather that we should, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17, 22-23)

The Word then tells us what it means to be “set apart” when we are treated unfairly. When it happens, anger and disappointment set in. It is at these critical moments that we must not forget that the Lord is enough for us to handle ANY such situation without falling short of His glory. Yet each of us has a natural tendency to throw a rope down the rampart so that the devil may climb up (4:27). 

Jesus’ alternative runs in stark contrast to this. His way says, “I haven’t forgotten what you did to me, but I’m going to choose to let it go and bless you instead. I’m giving up holding onto bitterness.” In other words, “Put the fleshly response away. All of it. Soften your heart. This is true strength in me.”

When we get to chapter 5, Paul exhorts us throughout the chapter to walk in “(selfless) love”, “light”, and “wisdom”.  To walk in these three important “ways” he naturally starts with agape (selfless love), but he doesn’t just mention it and move on. He elaborates why we can and should walk in love: “…walk in love (agape) as Christ has also loved us and given Himself for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2 NKJV).

Jesus was more than just a good example of this love in His kindness and teachings. God went through with the unthinkable and did what Abraham did not have to do on Mount Moriah. He responded to the wrongdoing of the world that still walked in sin and darkness and chose to sacrifice His one and only Son that those still undeserving might yet find life.  

This is why we can respond at any moment of unfair or poor treatment with selfless love, forgiveness, and letting go.   

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for ‘He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.'” (Luke 6:35 KJV)


  • Which aspect of this passage is the hardest for you to live out? The “do nots” or the “dos”? 

by Ryan Atwood