Matthew 5:43-44. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44[ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”
With all of the unrest in our world today, it’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem. Many have taken a justifiable cause such as racial equality and turned it into an opportunity for destruction and violence. Just this past week there have been numerous attacks on churches and synagogues. Anger against our leaders, anger toward authority, anger toward being isolated due to the entire Covid scare, many seems to be expressing it in some way, but what should our response be?
As followers of the King, we are called to march to a different drum. The sound of compassion, grace, forgiveness, and love is what Jesus expressed. How do we take this directive from Jesus and relate it today?
The beauty of our call is that it isn’t complex or difficult to apply. “Love your enemy”, i.e. those who treat you hatefully, “bless those who curse you”, i.e. those who put you down, ridicule you, say hateful words, “do good”, “pray for”. These short but powerful statements are reminders that we live by a different creed. We take our orders from the One who loved us and gave His life for us and who we will dwell with for eternity.
When we live by Jesus’ standard we reflect our Father’s heart. Our Father’s heart is full of love, for us and for our enemy, and that is a pill that can be hard to swallow. Loving our enemy is a labor of love that they may not receive. The love we are ultimately expressing is love for our Lord who loved us when we weren’t so lovable. We express His grace to show others that there is hope beyond the pain and frustration.
There are a lot of wounded and hurting people in our world. How they express that pain isn’t pleasant but if we can only look past the front and see the person behind it, we can see the value they have beyond anything they have done or said to us.
We are called to bring healing, hope, and restoration and the only way to do that is to be filled with the Spirit of God daily. Unless I allow the love of God to be expressed through me, my love is meaningless. Jesus expresses this by saying “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”, anyone can do that, that doesn’t reflect Christ to the world.
True Agape, self-sacrificial love looks like loving those who aren’t lovable. Loving those who don’t reciprocate that love. This is what perfection looks like….this is how they see Christ in you, and that is how we change the world.