love your enemies

I may not love God as I should, but I'm determined to get a handle on it. I may not love my family the way I should, but I intend to work at it. I may not love my neighbor as I should, but I'll keep trying. But love my enemy? Wow. That seems impossible!

Here's why it's so difficult. Enemies scheme, backstab, subject you to mental distress, and can even cause you bodily harm. If you could truly love them, they wouldn't be your enemies anymore, would they? But in Luke 6, Jesus says, "Love your enemies" by doing good to them (vv.27,35).

Love is not mere emotion, it's the decision to do what's right and good for another person. It means blessing those who are against you, praying for them, and responding to their evil with good. And it means helping them even when they don't deserve it. The three motivations for this kind of love are: • "Your reward from heaven will be very great" (v.35). Jesus doesn't expand on this statement here, but it's clearly a promise. If we choose to honor Him by loving our enemies, He will reward us. • "You will truly be acting as children of the Most High" (v.35). As children of the Most High, we can say along with the martyrs throughout the ages, "You can't take my true wealth because it's stored up in heaven. You can't take my real life because it's eternal in Jesus Christ." • "You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate." We are called to imitate our Father, who is kind even to the "unthankful and wicked" (vv.35-36).

Let's choose love over hatred. No occasion justifies evil for evil; no injustice warrants unjust behavior. Instead, we can follow God's leading by choosing to love our enemies. , Poh Fang Chia

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