How Do You Love Your Enemies (Matthew 5:43-48)

The last few weeks we’ve been looking at the parable of the Samaritan.  We talked about what it meant in context, some reasons we don’t stop to help others, what some of the church fathers thought of it, and the implications for us and how we navigate cross culturally.

One of the things that is clear throughout is that we are called to love everyone.  Which leads us to today’s scripture.  Matthew 5:43-48.  Jesus is working His way through the sermon on the mount.**  He says:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [a]be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and theunrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48 Therefore [b]you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

On its surface this idea does make sense, at least theologically.  After all we are called to love everyone.  God loves everyone.  God loves your enemy.  The one who persecutes you was created in God’s image.  Jesus died for your enemy.  Jesus prayed for and loved His enemies while He was here, even while they were crucifying Him.  We’re supposed to follow Jesus.

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