“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-48 NLT
This is one of the most difficult things in the world to do: Loving your enemies! This kind of love must be rooted in Jesus Christ. This kind of love goes beyond the human level to the Divine. Only when we understand and embrace the love of God can we reciprocate that love to others in its deepest form.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
Luke 6:27-36 NLT
“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””
Galatians 5:14 NLT
The greatest demonstration of love is when we love those who oppose us. Anyone can love those who love them. Only God can love those who hate Him. Only through Him can we do the same. Jesus epitomized this on the cross:
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
Luke 23:34 NLT
Even after being beaten to the point of death with a whip that was laced with chips of bone/metal, carrying a 100 pound cross beam (called the patibulum) 600 yards through the Via Dolorosa (the processional route through Jerusalem to Golgotha/Calvary - the path of suffering), and being nailed to the cross with rusty spikes, Jesus uttered these words.
What AMAZING LOVE!!!
We are called to love like that! Let's pray that God will help us do just that!!
Curtis R. Norris
Rev. Curtis Norris