Jesus said, “love your enemies.”
I keep forgetting the command Jesus gave. It wasn’t just a request – it was a command. If you look at the whole speech Jesus gave to a large group of people sitting on a hillside (Matthew 5), He hits on that idea more than once and in several ways. Working from the end of the chapter backward to the beginning, here are just a few ways Jesus tells us to love our enemies:
- Go above and beyond what’s expected of you by people you don’t like: verse 41.
- Stick with your wife even when it’s hard: verse 31.
- Treat beautiful people like people and not objects: verse 28.
- Be reconciled with those you’re not getting along with: verses 23-24.
- Be careful what you call those who you think are doing crazy things: verse 22.
- Don’t get angry with those around you: verse 22.
Think about this climate we live in today. We’re being pulled by every side to hate our enemies and not to love.
Think about ways you are doing that today and turn around.
I remembered how I messed up after I said some harsh things. Last night, I pointed out to my wife how someone had a dark past and how that was being covered up. It just wasn’t right how that person’s bad actions were getting swept under the carpet.
My wife didn’t agree with me, so my words got stronger and louder. We ended in an “agree to disagree” state.
Then, this morning, I remembered, “Love your enemies.”
Aaaugh! It’s hard!
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)