Love Your Enemies… Really?
CONSIDER THESE VERSES from Luke 6:27-36:
27“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great…”
No doubt, these are often difficult words to follow. Perhaps you even have images of specific people who come to mind when you read this passage. How can we ever do what this passage calls us to do? What would possess us to show this kind of supernatural love to others?
Just when you think there is no possible way you could express this kind of love, you read these words from Jesus, “and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Do we not take comfort in knowing that the kind of love we have received from God is the kind of love God is asking us to express to others; even our enemies?
We cannot muster up this kind of love on our own. This kind of love comes from the overflow of a heart that seeks after God. John Oswalt writes in his commentary on Isaiah, “The person who has the light of God in his or her life, who is led by God, whose soul is refreshed in the deserts of life and whose body is strengthened by him will be a watered garden. That is, such a person will have a rich supply of gifts to share with others; they will be a source of delight and encouragement.”
When you develop a relationship with God, you begin to reflect the character of God and that is where you get the strength to love your enemies! May it be so!
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