Love Your Enemies

People who know anything at all about Jesus usually know that He commanded us to love our enemies.

In commanding us to love our enemies, Jesus was not speaking primarily about the enemies of our nation or the enemies of our political party.  Rather He was speaking first and foremost about our own personal enemies – the people who oppose us in daily life, who thwart our purposes, who deny us our basic rights to respect and cooperation.  In other words, the enemies of whom He was speaking are the very people we live and work with every day.

Jesus did not come to teach us how to love those who love us or how to do good to those who do good to us.  We already know how to be kind to those who are kind to us.  What we need to learn is how to be kind to those who are unkind to us, how to be generous with those who are stingy with us, how to be respectful of those who do not respect us.  Jesus loved the people who were crucifying Him; He wants us to love the people who make life difficult for us.

Imagine for a moment that everyone in your home and workplace (if it’s different) were to do everything you asked of them today, cheerfully and energetically.  Then imagine how you would feel about serving their best interests if that were the case.  Now, go serve them today in just that way…even though the probability of all of them cheerfully and energetically doing everything you ask of them is as close to zero as it can get.  This is loving your enemies.

In keeping this commandment of Jesus, we will find His peace in our hearts.  The irony is that this is the very peace we were seeking – and not finding – when we were trying to get everyone around us to love us as they should.

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