Verse: Matthew 5:43-45
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 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.

Woah, Jesus is really hitting hard on this one for me. He challenges us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This command goes against everything in our culture and in our human nature, which tells us we should seeks revenge. It’s deemed normal to harbor bitterness towards those who wrong us. But as followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of love and forgiveness. We don’t get to stay where He found us. Through our relationship with Him, He chips away at our hurt, hardened hearts so we can love this way.

Jesus tells us that even pagans love those who love them, but as His disciples, we are called to love everyone, including our enemies. This kind of love reflects the love of God, who chose us even though we continually sin and fall short. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. God’s love knows no bounds and extends to all people, regardless of their actions or beliefs. Sometimes, Christians get this part wrong. We’ve all seen examples of hate because of others who are different than us. He is telling us flat out, directly, we are called to love them no matter what. We can pray for them, no matter what. He loves us despite our most hidden, darkest sins, and we’re called to reflect this to a broken world.

When we choose to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, we are displaying the transformative power of God’s love in our lives. It is a radical form of love that has the potential to break down barriers, heal wounds, and bring about reconciliation. By showing love to our enemies, we are embodying the love of Christ and fulfilling His command to love one another as He has loved us.

This verses could be a book in their own, but we don’t have time for that today. I want to just give a quick disclaimer- this does not mean we allow those who hurt us to have full access to us. This does not mean we endorse sin in the guise of “loving others”. If you’re confused about where the boundaries are drawn, please reach out to someone from our team for clarification.

Lord, please quiet my mind and allow me to let these verses wash over me. Help me to examine my own heart and the way I live this command in my daily life. Show me the bitterness and unforgiveness I hold onto, and help me to give it to You. Show me how to love like You, to show Your love to a world that desperately needs it. Open my eyes to the opportunities You place in my path to reflect you. We love you Lord, amen.

Author: Becca Artymenko