Commands of Christ: 19

Love your enemies.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?  So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

 “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.   To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Luke 6:27-29

For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.  If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.  But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Luke 6:32-35

Wow.  That pretty much redefines who an enemy is.  It is not someone you hate, because there are no such people if you are truly a Christ-follower.  It is someone who hates you.  You are loving to everyone equally, just as the Lord is.  This reminds me of a quote from Amy Carmichael.  (I don’t hate it because it isn’t true.  I hate it because it is true and it’s convicting.)  “No matter how suddenly you jar a bowl of sweet water, no bitter water will ever spill out.”