“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
God’s definition of love is beautiful, powerful, and strange; especially when compared to the way the world teaches you to love. In this passage, Jesus points out that many who consider themselves loving, really aren’t that loving, and He provides a deeper understanding of what godly love looks like:
- Love ALL: Jesus points out that many who think they are loving, limit their positive affection only to those people that they like and agree with. He points out that this worldly mentality of loving your friend and hating your enemy really isn’t a virtue at all. Jesus brings up tax collectors because in that time and society they were seen as lying traitors, the worst kind of people. He points out that even the worst of people tend to love their own families and friends. Truly loving people don’t just love those those they like and agree with, no they love even those that are their enemies and stand against them.
- God is the reason: Why do we love our enemies? Because we are the children of God and that is the way our Father loves. Worldly love is not sacrificial in nature. Worldly love says “You like me, I like you.” “You do good for me, I do good for you.” “You make me feel good, so I sacrifice for you.” Godly love is strange. Godly love says, “You hurt me, I love you.” “You reject me, I accept you.” “You steal from me, I sacrifice for you.” This is utterly strange. Why would anyone ever joyfully sacrifice for someone who doesn’t reciprocate? The Bible has the answer to that in Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The world we live in needs Godly love. Everyday we watch as the world becomes more divided. Everyday we watch cancel culture celebrated as people search for those that don’t belong to their tribe and then seek to silence them and ostracize them. This type of “love” will never bridge gaps, or bring people together. The world need the Love of God. A love that says I will sacrifice for even those that stand against me. A love that says, “I will love even those that disagree with me.” This powerful and strange love breaks hardened hearts and shows people that real, true love only comes from God.