Loving the enemy
[Jesus said:] 27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, who is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
What Jesus is telling us is hard, but it’s not impossible. As King says, “it’s absolutely necessary for the survival of our society.” And it’s necessary, too, because ultimately he is inviting us not only to forgiveness and charity but to something else; freedom and happiness. We don’t have to wait for all our enemies to die off, for Jesus is giving us a way to live in the here and now in freedom and without fear. For the reward is great in this kind of Agape living, mercy upon mercy in our lives and in our world for those who pursue the love of God. Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in the Lord and see what God will do – even when it comes to your enemies.