This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)
So what is love? We use this powerful word in all sorts of ways, and not always with the same importance or intensity. Some might speak of love, and mean physical, sexual love. Maybe romantic or passionate. Some might speak of love and mean friendship. There’s love that is about companionship, shared interests, of giving and receiving. While some might speak of love and mean an unconditional love. Love that gives without expectation of return. Unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial love.
All these different 'loves' make us human. But it is the unconditional, selfless and sacrificial love that pushes against the way we naturally think about ourselves, and those we come into contact with.
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:43-45)
To love like God, like our Father in heaven is to love even those who hate us, that stand against us.
There is a problem with this sort of love. If you choose to love someone else and expect nothing in return; to look out for their best interests at the expense of your own self-interests, the love you give may not be reciprocated. Yet that's exactly how Jesus loved us. This love comes to us as a gift from God. It grows in us by the Spirit of Christ, who redeems us from our selfishness and teaches us to love.
Jesus says to those who would love like Him; "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)