What makes it hard to love your enemies?
Both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke record Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.It’s a little bit different in each book, but the big ideas are the same. Here is the part of the sermon about loving our enemies in Luke’s gospel:
Luke 6:27-36. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Jesus is asking us all to do something truly amazing – love your enemies. In fact, it is impossible to do this without God’s help. Jesus isn’t telling you to avoid your enemy. Or to not be mean to your enemy. He’s asking you to do good, and be nice, to your enemy. Most of the time we can’t even be nice to the people we love, how on earth will we be nice to the people who we don’t like very much?
Jesus gives us the clue for how to do it – You will be sons of the Most High.
When we trust in Jesus and receive him as our savior we become God’s children, just like Jesus. We become the sons and daughters of God. We aren’t God like Jesus is, but we are sons of God like Jesus is. And that’s a pretty incredible thing isn’t it. When you’re a child of God you can actually begin to love your enemy. Why?
Because when you’re a child of God you know you need God’s love and grace. Now you can begin to see how your enemy also needs love and grace too.
When you’re a child of God you know that you have all of God’s love and grace. Now you don’t have to be afraid of your enemy hurting your feelings because your feelings can be controlled by God.
Because of Jesus we are the beloved children of God.
With Jesus we can love anyone, even our enemies.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Watch this scene from Joseph King of Dreams together.
Joseph loved his brothers even when they were his enemies. Talk about how we too can love our enemies even when it is very hard, because we know that God loves us and will take care of us.
Just like you I am a child of God. Now I know God loves me no matter what. Now I can love everyone else too, even someone who is not very nice.
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