Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. . . .
I don’t know if I have any enemies. As a Chicago Cubs fan, the closest thing to an enemy that I can think of is a St. Louis Cardinals fan. But, then, my best friend is a Cardinals fan, so I’m sure that’s not the kind of “enemy” Jesus is talking about. We might not like each other’s baseball teams, but we don’t curse each other or wish any harm on one another.
The world is filled with examples of enemies, though. Our Internet feed is bursting with people who speak out against each other and may wish harm on others. There are probably even people in my life who disagree with me to the point that they wouldn’t mind if something bad happened to me. If I’m honest, I can think of a few people that I don’t particularly like either. Some people are harder to love than others.
Jesus’ words here are challenging. He doesn’t just tell us to put up with our enemies. He tells us to love them. Love isn’t just a feeling; it is an action. He calls us to actively love those who hate and mistreat us. These are hard commands to follow.
But if we are to have the kind of faith that Jesus calls us to, then action is needed. So we must actively love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us. We put the lives of those people in the hands of Jesus, and we let go of grudges, hatred, and all the evil that may have been done to us. We also ask others to do the same for us.
Loving our friends is easy. Loving our enemies is a real step of faith.
Father, help me to love my enemies as only you can love. In Jesus, Amen.
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