Do you know who your enemies are? What is the definition of enemy anyway? That would be “a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” So who are your enemies?
I suppose as Christians we can all agree that our enemies are people who speak out boldly against Jesus. We may not necessarily “fear” them in all cases, but there are times and places where she should be careful.
Jesus is calling us to be radical here and love them. I suppose we don’t have to “like” them or what they stand for. We do need to love them as they are loved by God. Have you ever had a stubborn child or one who disobeys you and/or the law? While not an “enemy” per se, you certainly love them no matter what. Love the person, hate the actions.
We must “be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” That will set us apart from others. As the old song goes, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Indeed. We need to love everyone, show compassion, be open and inviting. Sometimes easier than said than done. That’s why Jesus is challenging us all here.
If our goal is to expand the kingdom, we want to do it with integrity and love, not strong armed manipulation. If you’ve ever tried to by a car, who do you buy it from? The salesman who showed you compassion, a good deal, and listened to you. You probably ran the other way from one who talked fast (and talked a lot) and was always looking over your shoulder not engaged. Be real and be present with everyone, including your enemies.
We want to represent Jesus well. We know it’s not “what” we do that will get us into heaven. As followers of Jesus, and by following his example, we should want to be the best we can be, the most loving, and the most helpful. As Christians, we should be selfless and giving, just like Jesus was.
Take a moment to think back on your life, maybe even the past year. Have you loved your enemy? What does that look like? Can you picture someone in particular that you have loved on? Where are they today?
Again, we have a heart check here. What motivates us toward action? Let Jesus’ words empower you today. Look beyond your comfortable circle of friends. There is someone, an enemy, waiting to be loved by you.
Let’s pray. Father, forgive me when I look the other way when someone needs your touch. Help me to see with your eyes those enemies that are waiting for love. Take away any prejudice or fear that might be holding me back. Give me a boldness to reach out with compassion like you would. Don’t let me hide behind excuses of being too busy. Clean my heart, oh God, that I can be a better servant and follower. In Jesus’ name. Amen.