“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, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Loving Our Enemies
When Jesus speaks of loving our enemies, he uses the Greek word, which means more than “to like.” It is a word that the Bible uses most often in regard to the love God has for totally undeserving sinners, a love that moved God to be merciful and act for our salvation. We may be unable to like some people because of their sinful habits. But as disciples of Jesus, we are to love our enemies. Why? Because we know and have experienced the love of God, his wonderful grace for us undeserving sinners that pardons our guilt for Jesus’ sake. By his love, God eternally embraces us as his children.
Faith in God’s redeeming love empowers us to love our enemies with a love like his. Though ours will never be a perfect love like that of our heavenly Father, yet his love compels us to love even those who hate us. This means that we show them love in word and deed with the highest aim that in extending our Christian love to them, they will be attracted to the saving message of the gospel, believe it, and be saved.
Jesus points out that by showing such love for those who hate us, we are recognized as the children of the Father. How wonderful to be known as children of God simply by the way we treat those who have mistreated us!
Dear God, through your Word renew in me daily a greater understanding and a deeper appreciation for your love in Christ. Help me to reflect your love to others, even toward those I have difficulty liking. Amen.