LOVE YOUR ENEMIES AND DO GOOD

This is one of those awkward moments when someone says something that causes you to laugh when you first hear it, only to realize that it was, in fact, a serious comment.

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” (Luke 6:35)

We do not want to love our enemies. In our worst moments, we want to hurt them, gossip about them, undermine them, and generally make them pay. In our better moments, we want to ignore them and pretend they do not exist.

If we are not in a position to retaliate, we can at least wait until someone or something else makes sure our enemy gets what they deserve. Then we can sit back and gloat. We can enjoy the warm satisfaction of knowing that they finally got what they deserved. Now let us see what Jesus has to say.

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)

Jesus says that none of that behavior is an option for a Believer. More in-depth than that, none of those desires is an option for us either. Jesus commands that we love our enemies. We can not just follow Jesus and hate others — even if “others” hate us.

It is like trying to mix oil and water. No matter how hard you try, it just will not happen. It is not meant to happen.

Deep down, we know that we do view others as our enemies: we do hate, curse, and mistreat others. Not in any crude, socially, or even spiritually unacceptable way, but quietly, in the secrecy of our own heart.

When someone does not like us, they effectively become our enemy. We do not like them anymore. We pretend we do not see them sitting across the room. Why? Because our pride is hurt. We can not understand why they do not like us or how they can misunderstand us. How can they possibly do what they are doing to us?

When our pride is wounded, we want to lash out. But Jesus says it should not be that way. Jesus says we will have enemies; we will have people who hate, curse, and mistreat us. But we do not have to go to their level and hate, curse, or mistreat anyone else.

Choosing to love people is not always easy. Are you ready to embrace this love for both your friends and enemies?

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