“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – Luke 6:27-28.
Mathew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Sounds unreasonable doesn’t it. Perhaps this is among Jesus’ most revolutionary statements — and certainly most humanly counterintuitive. We already were struggling to “love our neighbor,” and then He throws this at us. What about the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, or the person who has gossiped about you most? Do you mean those people Jesus? Our enemies? The answer is yes. Jesus still tells us to “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27-28).
Jesus had His share of enemies. The people Jesus was talking to in Luke and Matthew lived under Roman rule. The Romans employed torture and murder to keep people in line. Everyone listening to Jesus talk about this idea of “loving your enemies” certainly had reason to hate the Roman soldiers and their leaders with a passion.
Do we have a legitimate reason, or maybe a good excuse to not love our enemies? When we read passages of scripture that command us to love our enemies we may not blurt it out but we think that if we are not loved by someone why are we required to love them. That perception could not be further from the truth. We simply don’t have an excuse, because any level of love that God calls us to display to another human being, has already been extended to us by God.
Our culture teaches us the opposite. We are taught to hate those who hate us. As Christians, loving our enemies, serves as one of the most powerful witnessing tools. God calls us to be salt and light, to stand out in the crowd. What better way to do so then to do something so utterly unheard-of and counter-cultural like loving our enemies? Displaying this Christ-like love in today’s hate-filled world will force people to take notice and wonder who or what could compel us to love our enemies.
It’s not easy. But the next time you’re faced with the choice to love your enemy, ask yourself what you would say or do if that person was your best friend in the whole world and do it. Even though every fiber of your being tells you to hate your enemy, if you respond to them like you would respond to someone you love, amazing transformation can take place.
- What are the risks of trying to love our enemies?
- What are the benefits of loving our enemies?