43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This passage has the subheading ‘Love for Enemies’ and I have to say it’s the kind of passage I struggle to apply to my own life. But reading these 6 verses again, in the light of the key theme for this series (being the ‘salt of the earth’ & the ‘light of the world’), makes more sense. If we’re called to live our lives differently, with integrity, then we must love our enemies.
As the passage says, if we only love those who love us and we only greet people who are like us, then we are no different than the rest of the world. How will people notice that we’re different? And if they don’t notice that we’re different, why would they want to pursue a relationship with Jesus?
Does loving your enemy feel like going a bit too far? Well, I believe love is a verb, not a feeling. Loving someone is doing things for them, being there for them, showing them that they matter to you. What ‘enemies’ do you have in your life? What’s one simple way you can show them God’s love this week?
Why not take this to God now in prayer and thank Him for first loving you.