But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. –Luke 6:27-28
Sometimes I really don’t like what the Bible has to say–and often it is not the things I struggle to understand, but the things I do understand. Case in point: Jesus’ teachings about loving your enemies.
For all I hear about people wanting to follow the teachings of Jesus, I find a disconcerting reality. Most of us select the things we want to follow or the things that fit into our ideals for life. So, when it comes to loving our enemies, we might wish Jesus had said:
“Love those people who are around you whom you can love, do good to those who will do good back to you, bless those who are like you and pray for those whom you deem worthy.” But, that is not what He said. Instead, Jesus said:
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is it to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 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 are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. (Luke 6:29-33)
Jesus calls on us to love our enemies–those who hate us, curse us and mistreat us. These are the people we are to love–in our actions, not just our words.
This is a hard teaching because it calls us to go against the flow of culture. It calls us to step forward and do what appears to be crazy. But therein lies the beauty. To love those who hate us, curse us and mistreat us is to proclaim the kingdom come and diffuse hate with love, for love covers a multitude of sins, both others’ and ours.
1. How do you struggle with Jesus’ teaching to love one another?
2. Is there a specific person God is calling you to love? What will you do to demonstrate love to this person?
Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:34-36; Romans 12:9-21