Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Law of Love: Love Your Enemy

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

This may be the Lord’s hardest command. “Do not commit adultery” comes naturally to a lot of people, but loving your enemy? That is completely unnatural.

Who’s my enemy? Whoever I don’t want to do good to. Whoever I don’t like. Whoever I feel is trying to harm me, ruin me, or mistreat me. Your enemy is the one trying to damage your reputation. Your enemy is the person who’s always asking for a very reasonable inch so they can take a mile.

What do I do with these people? “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well” (Matt 5:39).

That’s not how the world treats their enemies. Our world says, "If you disagree with me, you must be ruined." That is not the way of the cross. Christ’s followers do not slander their enemies, vandalize their homes or businesses, or try to destroy their livelihood. Rather than acting out of anger, we’re supposed to treat them as if they were friends:

“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it” (Ex 23:4-5).

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (Prov 25:21).

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Rom 12:14).

Why should you do this? Do it “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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:45-48).

We follow the one who, while hanging on the cross, said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1Pet 2:23).

The way Jesus died is the way we’re called to live.

Image via Pixabay

Part of Christianity 102

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