Friday, July 1 – Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to 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 the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Even the Gentiles, do they not do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Who are the people you express love to on a regular basis? Maybe you cook for your family or mow the lawn for your neighbor. Through these actions, we give more than a kind word, we reflect care for others. It may not be as easy to think of someone you would call an enemy. Where TV shows and movies portray clear rivals, daily life is not always so clear cut. In considering Jesus’s words, we might consider our enemy anyone we feel at odds with. Maybe that is someone who thinks differently than us or a coworker that gets under our skin.
It is our love as followers of Jesus that sets us apart from the world. Everyone knows how to love someone who loves them back or to care for someone who thinks like they do. It is when we love people who are different than us and serve those who offend us that we truly reflect the unconditional love we have in Christ. Consider the great love Jesus showed in dying for those who cursed His name and killed Him. Consider the love of God that Stephen displayed in remaining calm under persecution and being gracious with his enemies even to his final breath. Maybe your enemy is not so easily definable; maybe it’s just a group of people who think differently than you. Whatever the case, may God’s love overflow in your life even and especially to your enemies so that the world may see His powerful work through you.
- Who would you consider your enemy? How can you practically love them?
- How might loving your enemies have an impact on them or others?
- Pray and ask God to help you identify your enemies and love them with His unconditional love.