Matthew 5:43-47 (HCSB)
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be[d] sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
This is such a terribly hard passage to follow. Some of us have enemies that should really be in jail. How are we supposed to love those people? I don’t have the entire answer, as I have not mastered this myself, but I do have some pointers.
1) Pray for the ability to love your enemies! We should never underestimate the power of God to change hearts. He who turned your heart to him, can turn your heart in regard to your enemies as well.
2) Remember that you have sinned as well, and rarely if ever do we see our personal sins in the same light that God does. We have sinned, yet God forgave us, we should remember that as we try and love others.
3) Loving our enemies isn’t the same as loving their sins. We hate it when our kids tell us “NO!” to perfectly reasonable request, we hate it when they cheat on a test or lie to us, but we love them anyway. We can hate the sin while loving the sinner.
4) The people who have sinned against us, are often deeply hurt by things that have happened in their past. Things that probably would have made us act out too.
Know that forgiveness and love have redeemed many people. People have become unrecognizable after someone who had every right to hate them, forgave them, and loved them. Even though I as a mere human can’t ask you to love that heroically, Jesus as God, who was loving to people that he knew would portray him can, and he can help you do it!
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