Love your enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard it said, “Hate your enemy.”

That is not in the Old Testament at all. Which shows that what Jesus has been doing over these six examples of how he fulfils the Jewish Law of his time was not attacking the law itself, but bad interpretations of the law. The law said Love your neighbour. “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy” is a very bad interpretation. The whole point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was to point out that the enemy and the neighbour were the same people.

But hating enemies is not God’s way. Not that I am trying to paint a picture of a nice God who will not permit anything not nice to happen to anyone. Far from it. God hates evil, and hate is not too strong a word. Those who do evil things are naturally seen as enemies of God, but God never said we should hate them.

The two examples, of sun and rain falling on good and bad people alike are both blessings, particularly rain. In a dry country rain is more of a blessing than sunshine. God gives blessings to all, and so should we.

God loves his enemies. love does not discriminate, even to enemies. That is the story of the cross.

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

I was not totally happy with the image, but this is not a subject that lends itself to images.

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