This Commandment Didn’t Make Jesus Very Popular
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.“ – Luke 6:35
If you know your Biblical history, you know that the Jews absolutely hated and despised the Romans. But why? Well, they attacked, oppressed, and bullied God’s people, so in the eyes of many, they had a really good reason to hate them. But wait, what did Jesus say? “Love your enemies.”
When you hear that…what is your initial emotion? Probably, “No way pal, I’m out.” You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that. Many turned away from Jesus after He said that, but they turned away without getting to the heart of the matter.
Jesus was NOT talking about having affection for enemies; what He WAS talking about was choosing YOUR attitude towards them. This isn’t the kind of love and affection that you can just fall into – it comes from a conscious choice.
Loving your enemies means to stop seeking revenge and retaliation and act in their best interests. I know that statement feels contrary to what you may feel right now towards someone who has become an enemy or it’s even contrary to what you’ve been told, but that’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, how do you and I have compassion for our enemies? We can start by praying for them and then follow that with trying to understand them. More than likely, you don’t know ALL they are going through and dealing with. Even if you do know what they’re going through, you don’t know exactly what they are going through because they’re not you.
God loves the whole world. All of it. Every part. Even and especially those who are in active rebellion against Him. Crazy, isn’t it? Guess what? That’s the love our Father has for us. It’s wild. Jesus set the example, and it’s our choice to make the effort to follow it.
Do you want God to forgive you? Well, then grant your enemies the same respect.