“Love your enemies,” he said. “Pray for those who persecute you.” This was considered radical at the time Jesus said it. But isn’t it really still radical today?
How often do we really love our enemies? How often do we pray for those who persecute us? Aren’t we much more likely to harbor feelings of hurt and resentment?
But if you really think about it, this statement is even more radical than it may appear on the surface. For God sent his son Jesus to be our example of how to love. He showed us that loving means choosing the other person and putting them first in a selfless love. He showed us that loving means forgiving as he did on the cross – forgiving even when we don’t feel like it and even when forgiveness isn’t asked for or even deserved. He showed us that loving means sacrificing for the other. After all he made the ultimate sacrifice for us by giving his life. If we are to love in this world, we are to use that as our basis and example.
Do we love our enemies in this way? Or even close to it?
How much would our world change if we truly lived out just this one statement Jesus made? Wouldn’t it be radical?
What would happen if we chose to love instead of returning injury? What would happen if we chose to love instead of just ignoring the person? What would happen if we prayed, truly prayed for those who have hurt us?
Isn’t this ultimately what Jesus did on the cross for each and every one of us? We are all sinners and our sin is why he died on the cross. But although that is true, he chose to love each one of us with all he had.
He isn’t just telling us not to seek revenge on our enemies. He isn’t just telling us to be kind to our enemies. He is telling us to love them with all we have, just the way he loves us. And if we are to love our enemies in this way, how much should we also love those who aren’t our enemies?
One small statement, if lived out, could have an impact on the world greater than we could ever imagine.
Which people in your life have wronged you that should be loved in this way?
Can you love those who seem unloveable in your eyes right now? More on that later….