“But to you who listen to me I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you . . . Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
—Luke 6:27-28, 36 NIV
We live in a society that teaches us to love our friends and hate those who treat us badly. But Jesus called us to do something that sounds strange and even a bit unwise: love our enemies. To love those who literally want the worst for us.
This world teaches us the philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (see Matthew 5:38) but Jesus teaches us to “do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us.”
How could Jesus say something like that?
Because that’s exactly the kind of love God has for us.
The command to love our enemies sounds crazy until we remember that Jesus loved us when we were his enemies (see Romans 5:10).
Our Father, the God of creation, “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked,” and if we want to be like him we must learn to be “compassionate, just as (our) Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:35-36 NIV).
When we love people who are difficult to love, even those who treat us badly, we draw close to the heart of Jesus, who prayed for the very people who crucified him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
Here is a simple prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: You loved me when I was your enemy;
Breathe out: Give me that same love.