What did Jesus say?
Love Your Enemies
- Matthew 5:43-45: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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.
In Other Text:
- Luke 6:27-28: But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
- Zechariah 8:16-17: These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”
Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This can be challenging when our neighbor does not look like us, think like us, or act like us. But what about when our neighbor actually brings us harm? What if our neighbor curses us or takes action that is hurtful? What behaviors does Jesus expect when our neighbor becomes our enemy?
Oddly enough, Jesus says, offer our offender the same love and grace that we would to our closest friends. Jesus’ command is for love to be our “default setting”. Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and heart to love even those who want to bring us harm. No matter how long we follow Jesus we have to realize our brokenness and sin has been freely forgiven and He asks us to have that same heart. How then can we hold the sins of others against them?
Jesus is saying… The same radical, unconditional, daily grace that is offered to me must be offered to others. We are not positioned to judge, we have no righteousness other than that which was given to us. How then can we harbor evil in our hearts toward another? He made us all. He loves us all. He offers forgiveness to all. We must learn to follow in His footsteps and choose to love the same.