Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:43-44
One day, Jesus was teaching his disciples on a hillside, which is known as the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5:43-44, where He talks about loving our enemies.
Jesus said some things to his disciples that took them by surprise, which even some followers of Jesus still find challenging to do to this day. “You have heard that it was said that you should love your neighbours and hate your enemies,” Jesus said. “But I say, love your enemies; and even if they say or do mean and horrible things to you, pray for them.”
“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Why does Jesus tell us to love our enemies? Well, when we love our enemies, Jesus says that we are being children of God. If we only love those who are kind to us, what is the point of that? If we only show kindness to our friends, what is the point of that? Anyone can do that!
It is not always easy to love our enemies; however, it is good to put this into practice no matter how hard you feel it is.
In Matthew 5:11, which says:
“Blessed are you, when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you.”, we begin to see how enemies can be like – insulting you, persecuting you and speaking ill of you, BUT there are some good reasons for loving our enemies.
- God rewards us for loving our enemies, which is good because it helps us to know we are walking in the path of righteousness.
- It teaches us to be understanding of other people’s situations, which is important because it helps us not to judge people in the wrong way.
- It demonstrates the love of God to others.
- It sets a good example for others to follow, which helps us to share our faith, because ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. In other words, we don’t always have to tell people about it, but we can SHOW others by setting a good example through loving our enemies.
- Lastly, it turns enemies into friends.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
One time, I came across a story about a man who spent his holidays directing youth camps and enjoyed it. However, he would sometimes come across a young kid who didn’t listen to instructions and was always in rebellion. However, the man did not get angry, but was moved with compassion, like Jesus did many times in the Bible. He talked to the kid and found out that his mum worked in a bar and dated many different men, which meant that at many a times, he was alone. This was why the boy had built up all this anger and hatred against the world. Instead of punishing the boy, the man helped the boy and told the counsellor of the camp to have the boy as his helper and give the kid a lot of attention. This caused many positive changes in the boy’s life.
It may be hard at times to love our enemies, but it is worth it, because God rewards us for it.
By Praise Riley-Poku