Love Your Enemies
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 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
As the temperature soars during the summer, you see more of your neighbours out, doing work around the house or just walking outside. Contrast that to the winter months when it is dark outside and it is hard to see people go in and out of their homes. To love your neighbour and to hate your enemies sounds like it is very logical. It only makes sense to be good neighbours and if somebody is not kind to you, you avoid contact with them. Most of us won’t admit to hating our neighbours. That’s not politically correct to hate others. Maybe we are annoyed by our neighbours, but hating is not something that our parents taught us or that we would accept for our children.
As much as we love logic and reasoning, Jesus turns it upside down and says that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I don’t have any relatives of friends who persecute me, so how do I make use of this lesson? It makes me think of whether I can apply this application to a co-worker who curses a lot around me. I have already mentioned that he does curse a lot and it’s not professional conduct in the office. It’s time to use the power of prayer instead of relying on my reasoning with another individual. It also means that there needs to be a higher level of acceptance of people just as Jesus accepted sinners on his daily journey.