To you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
This command sounds almost impossible. On top of that, these words of Jesus don’t have much appeal. Love your enemies? In most situations, hate or disdain are the more natural reactions we would have for enemies.
But, as Jesus points out, loving people who already love us is fairly easy. There’s a guaranteed return on our love investment when we love people who we know will love us back. He goes so far as to say, “Even sinners love those who love them.” So just loving the people who love us is not enough.
In other words, people who are going to follow the Lord have to step up their game. Three times Jesus mentions that even sinners doing the easy work of loving or helping others by expecting something in return. Jesus challenges us to show love that is radical and crazy by the world’s standards.
Do you really want to be children of God? Then love your enemies, recognizing they are worth the same amazing grace you and I have received from the Lord. And even more—pray for them too!
That’s hard to do, but it’s what Jesus demands of us. And he gives us the grace and strength to follow his commands.
Father God, may our minds no longer nurse our grudges and rehearse our scenes of hurt and pain, but focus on your grace granted to us in Jesus. May we experience your love as we strive to love our enemies as well as our friends. Help us to follow you, Lord. Amen.
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