TO CHEW ON: “‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.'” Matthew 5:44,45
The list of do’s and don’ts in our passage today reminds us a lot of yesterday’s list from Leviticus 19. There is even the same motivation: love (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44).
However, Jesus goes further than the command to love one’s neighbor (hard enough) to say that disciples—we—should love even our enemies.
How can He expect this of us?
He showed us how by His example
- By what He said: John 3:16; Matthew 5:44
- Through His life:
* He cried over Jerusalem whose citizens were rejecting Him (Matthew 9:36).
* He healed the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Him and prayed for forgiveness of those who mocked Him while on the cross (Luke 22:41; 23:34).
- In His death:
The Holy Spirit gives us this heart transplant.
It is only through the Holy Spirit that we become carriers of this family love gene.
* “'But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth'” - Acts 1:8
*“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5.
*“But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:22
*“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22.
Perhaps the extent to which we do (or don’t) love our neighbors and our enemies says something about how much of our lives the Holy Spirit has access to.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, the command to display this family trait of love, even when it feels entirely unnatural, is a wake-up call to me to allow Your Spirit greater control of my life. Please help me in this. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.