You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
Memory verse: If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22.
Valentine’s day is celebrated worldwide and without having a deep understanding of the idea behind it, people key themselves into this celebration of love mentality from a very young age.
It is mostly celebrated to showcase love therefore there are exchange of nice and luxurious gifts. What tends to be the problem then if after all the showcase of genuineness of love, many relationships hit the rocks on the surfacing of challenges?
The context of today’s bible describes to us Jesus teaching His disciples about love and its purpose. This was not a teaching for the general public but more like a private lesson for the selected and Jesus went through a few important details with them. He gave them a very different view of the world and word of God, corrected various assumptions and clarified some confusion in the world. He ended the conversation with something every human struggles with “love for your enemies”.
I know about love for God and that is non-negotiable, and then love my neighbors which most of us can admit we are still working on; but love for our known enemies? now that is a challenge.
How can Jesus expect me to love someone who is an outright enemy, why would I or should I? This is the conversation we begin to have with ourselves as we explore the verses in Matthew 5:43-47. The first question to ponder on is who are my enemies? The simplest answer is “an enemy is anyone who turns against me” but have you noticed that both enemies and friends tend to come from the same group? Matthew 10:36.
Nothing feels more natural than to just hate someone and tag them as an enemy yet Jesus requires that we love them. Love is a decision which transforms the heart, it is something God has called to be unconditional, it is more than the show put up and displayed on February 14.
Whiles showing love is not a bad thing but public display is not a guarantee of true love why? Because without proper understanding we see people tag into anything that creates an atmosphere of celebration hence there is no deep meaning to what we see out there in the world.
Jesus is more concerned with the heart and desires that we are elevated to a different level with God, a life filled with all round love all day every day.
Whiles love for God and your neighbors might gradually become easy, the challenge of love is when you have to love those who hate you. King Solomon was one who seemed to have had a good and let’s say supernatural understanding of love and his expression is showcased when he wrote in proverbs 25:21 “If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.” The ability to love your enemies is beyond human understanding and reasoning therefore such supernatural will can only come from God but you have to be willing.
Whiles you may not be able to have a normal day to day life with your enemies, are you able to bless others when needed and pray for them? The only way to destroy the route of bitterness is to pray for someone you desire so much to hate and because every day the challenge of love requires little acts of self-denial, it means you rely on God to do His will and prevent your own will concerning enmity.
As you see yourself walking through the challenge of love, you begin to see a transformation in your everyday life. You are everyday moving towards the Christ like life intended for every Christian and acting like a true child of the father.
- Father I thank you for your word and love towards me
- Thank you for unconditionally giving your life on the Cross to save and redeem me
- Help me to love you more Lord, to love my neighbors and enemies inclusive
- Help me to be wise to resent hatred and enmity, empower me to love unconditionally
- Forgive me all my sins O Lord and let your mercy prevail over judgement
- Thank you Lord for answers to prayers, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.