How can you possibly avoid sin and love your worst enemy?
In Proverbs 24:17 we’re told not to gloat when our enemy falls. In Proverbs 25:21 we’re told to feed our enemy when he’s hungry. But the blatant instruction to love our enemies came from Jesus in His sermon on the mount.
I woke up remembering something I heard in a homily a decade ago: Jesus and His apostles were persecuted and killed. John, the only apostle not martyred, lived to old age, surrounded by followers watching him die.
Jesus taught that there is nothing extraordinary about loving your friends – anyone should be able to do that. It is far harder to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, which is the standard Jesus now wants his followers to aim for.
In Matthew chapter 5: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
There are two reasons for us to love our enemies. One is simply because God said to, but the other is because God loved us first. It was when we were still God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21 and Romans 5:10) that He demonstrated His love for us. Through Jesus (Romans 5:8) God’s love brought salvation to us.
Jesus and His apostles were persecuted and killed. John, the only apostle not martyred, lived to old age, surrounded by followers watching him die. They wanted to know what was the one thing, the most important thing to remember from all that Jesus taught him.
On his death bed, John whispered the one main thing everyone needs to know about Christianity, the most important thing Jesus taught him:
“Love one another. Just love one another.”
Here are more Bible verses about loving your enemies you should Know:
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Psalm 1:1-6 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
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