44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:44-48
What a wonderful place the world would be if we followed the simple (but hard) suggestions that the Lord told his followers.
Here they are:
Love your enemies. Sounds simple right, well not exactly. Enemies are the ones you want the furthest from you. When you see an enemy walking down the street, what do you do? Smile and run over and give them a big hug. I doubt it; most of us would turn the other way, cross the street to the other side or just plain ignore them.
What does Jesus tell us? Bless them that curse you. Bless in the Greek means “to speak well of “. When was the last time you said something nice about an “enemy”?
Do good to them. Thayer’s Greek Dictionary says, “rightly, so that there shall be no room for blame, well, truly”. When was the last time you made cookies or did something nice for an “enemy”?
Pray for them. Now this is an easy one, right? Wrong, most people have a hard time praying, but to pray for someone they dislike or someone who did something to them. You get the picture.
Jesus prayed for His enemies while He was hanging on the cross. The first Christian martyr, Stephen, also prayed for his enemies. Can you and I do any less?
Why, oh, why would Jesus ask us to love our enemies? The next verse explains it. When we do what Jesus asks, we will be known as the children of the heavenly Father. People will certainly look at you strangely when you start to say nice things about the people who treated you badly instead of gossiping about them to those around you.
God lets the sun shine on the evil and the good and sends rain to the just and the unjust. How can I do any differently?
How Christian is it when I only “love” those who “love” me? I would be no different than all the people who do not know Christ.
Perfect in the Greek means “complete in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc”. Let’s start today to be perfect as our Heavenly Father has commanded.