In the post, What is Love, I listed 5 verses where Jesus is very clear what it looks like to follow Him. To Love one another is the third of Jesus’ teachings I highlighted.
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;…Matthew 5:44-45 NASB2020
In our current culture, this is the discipline that I believe makes us stand out the most. There are whole industries and communities around tearing down your enemy, whoever you think your enemy is. We, as followers of Jesus, also have enemies. We can have enemies because of our walk with the Lord, our favorite sports team, politics, artists, etc. There is no shortage of opportunities for us to see someone as the enemy or for someone to see us as the enemy.
What separates us from the world is how we treat and interact with our enemies. Jesus says that we are to love and pray for our them. He doesn’t say this just for us to be nice but because when we act this way, we point people to our Father. Being a disciple of Jesus is all about reflecting God’s ways and glory back onto the world.
This has played out more in my professional life than my personal life. A hallmark of my career has been taking on difficult projects and working with difficult client situations. I’ve been told on a few occasions that I work well with difficult people. I believe this specifically stems from trying to walk as Jesus would. Now I am far from a saint, but Christ’s lessons on how to treat people have always stayed with me, especially in my career..
Another scripture that exemplifies how Jesus does not want us to retaliate and hate our enemies is Luke 9:51-55
51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 And they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them.Luke 9:51-55 NASB
Jesus’ disciples wanted to respond to their enemies with not only disgust but actual murder! Jesus not only said no, but he rebuked them. Retaliation, anger, and violence against your enemy caused Jesus to rebuke them. On top of that, this wasn’t just random followers, He rebuked James and John, His inner circle! This is not trivial to Jesus!
The final scripture I want to quote to drive home what Jesus teaches on enemies is Luke 6:27-29. This passage is from Jesus’ sermon on the mount. He speaks that we shouldn’t respond like the world does to those who hate us or even those we consider enemies as well.
27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic from him either.Luke 6:27-29 NASB
I don’t know if Jesus can be any clearer. We are to love our enemies, pray for them, treat them well, and if they need something, we are to go the extra mile for them.
That’s what a follower of Jesus looks like.
Let’s be ambassadors of His kingdom, showing our #1 export, love, even to our enemies.
Lord willing, I’ll see y’all tomorrow.