“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. (Matthew 5:43-48, CEB)
The person questioned Jesus on how to get saved, and Jesus answered love God and love your neighbor. And the person questioned Jesus on who his neighbor is. We want loopholes to get out of loving people we do not want to love.
But here Jesus takes it a step further and says not only love God, and your neighbors (which is everyone, by the way) but also love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. So that they may see the love of God through you.
Seriously Jesus?! I have to not only love people all over the world that I don’t even know who are my neighbors but I also have to love and pray for those who are actively seeking my downfall? Yes. Jesus will always say yes.
We are called to love everyone without end. Regardless of how they treat us, we must love, because that is what God told us to do.
It is not easy my friends. I still have people in my life whom I would not like to have dinner with, but I love them. I wish them the best and pray for them that God will be with them and show them love so that God’s love will be made known in the world. In the last 2 congregations I served my final sermon ended with the line, “God loves you and so do I.” And I meant it. Even those that were happy to see me go. I can honestly say I love them. I would not trust some of them to watch my children or move my stuff, but I love them and wish them no harm.
Can we all say that?
Loving People. Loving God.