May 23, 2024

Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . . .”

—  Matthew 5:43-44

These words of Jesus can surprise and even shock us. And who, exactly, are our enemies?

In the book of Psalms, King David spoke often of his enemies. David’s enemies wanted him physically dead. They wanted to destroy his kingdom—which was intended to represent the kingdom of God. Those enemies were people who opposed the rule of God in the world.

If we follow Christ today, we might not encounter people who want us physically dead, but we certainly can come into contact with people who would celebrate the end of the church and the end of the Christian faith. We might also think of politicians as enemies if they are working to replace some of our nation’s laws with measures that are openly against God’s Word. While we know that our citizenship is in heaven, we still live as residents of an earthly nation. Further, people who want to destroy our country may also be considered our enemies.

The apostle Paul says, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). He does not say, “Hate who is evil,” but what is evil. This means that while we may hate laws and policies and actions that are evil, we are still called to love people who promote and do such things. And we are not to slander or curse them but to pray for them.

Lord, help us to love our enemies. As we work against sin in this world, help us to remember that you loved us even when we were your enemies, as sinners. Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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