“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” –Jesus, in Matthew 5:44
When we are the one who has harmed someone, these words ring true and seem tender. But, when we are the one who has been harmed, these words ring troubling and seem tough.
Love them? But, they did [fill in the blank]. And, maybe they’ve never even apologized or changed.
In the Bible, love is often a feeling. But rather than being a feeling that promotes action, it is often first an action based upon obedience to God that results in a feeling. This explains why the Bible commands husbands to love their wives and wives to love their husbands rather than commanding them to “feel loving.” This further explains why Jesus even commands us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:44.
Jesus’ command to love our enemies is probably one of His best-known statements, even among non-Christians. It’s also a command that’s easy to skim over because we’ve heard it so much before. But we shouldn’t skim over this revolutionary idea.
If you have an enemy who has tried to harm you, the importance of Jesus’ words are likely very obvious. You would appreciate it if the person who has held a grudge would let it go, move on, and let you do the same. But, is there someone else who is thinking the same thing about you? Is there someone who you have decided to “persecute” in some form or fashion because you consider then your “enemy”? If so, it is important to not only apply Jesus’ teaching for your benefit, but also for the benefit of others.
In what ways has Jesus been loving toward you long before you were loving toward Him?