Love Your Enemies, Not Just Your Friends
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
God loves all people and as His children we are called to love all people.
One morning, Isaac was eating Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast and I noticed him doing something strange. He was sucking the frosting off each piece and then spitting the wheat part back into the cereal bowl. Obviously the frosting is the tastier part of the cereal, but that’s only part of it. I told him that he had to eat all his cereal, not just the part he likes the best.
I believe this is what Jesus is saying in these verses. It’s easy and comfortable to love those that love us back. It doesn’t require sacrifice or humility because the feeling is mutual, but what about those people that don’t love us? What about those individuals that make us want to walk the other direction when we see them coming? What about the people that don’t believe the same things we believe? The answer from Jesus is, “Yes, even those individuals. Love those people as well.”
Jesus commands us to love even our enemies because it’s proof of a changed life. The tax collectors and Gentiles represent those individuals that do not know Jesus to be their master and savior. They represent the part of society that was viewed as wicked and sinful. Jesus wants us to see, if we only love the people who love us, then we are no different than the tax collectors and Gentiles. Ouch!
We cannot do this without Jesus doing it for us.Jesus is our example because Jesus loved his enemies perfectly.He loved them “…by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”(Phil 2:8)We were once isolated from God, an enemy of His, but through Jesus, God loved us.Now we can go and do the same. Jesus says, “You’re different now. Don’t just eat the frosting.”
Questions To Ponder
According to these verses, how are we to respond to our enemies and those that hate us?
How often do you respond this way?
Is there someone/organization you need to pray for today?
Scripture Memory | February | Proverbs 18:2
“Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions.”