27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

 It is one thing to love a friend, a brother, sister, parent, son or daughter who has hurt you.  That is because you value their friendship.  But what about your enemies–those people who rub you wrong today, yesterday and always… those people who oppose you at every turn?  Does God expect us to love them too?  These verses tell us that we are to love even our enemies.  

But God hasn’t asked us to do anything he hasn’t already done for us.  We crucified Jesus on a cross, yet Jesus responded saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  Jesus rebuked when it was necessary, but he never stopped loving his enemies. 

An insincere love is not love.  I have heard people say in bitterness and through gritted teeth, “I love him in the Lord.”  I don’t think God was impressed, however.  Until we are free of ill will, until we can think of them with a smile on our faces and in our hearts, we still haven’t forgiven them and we still aren’t loving them in our hearts. 

Verse 28 gives us the formula for overcoming those bitter feelings.  Jesus tells us to bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Lord give us the courage, strength, and desire to truly forgive our enemies.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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