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Commentary » Matthew 5:43-Matthew 5:48 » Family-Times.net
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Love Your Enemies

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In THE GRACE OF GIVING, Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded sort who did all he could to o … More

Love

The Pharisees taught that a person should love those near and dear to them but that their enemies should be hated. Jesus defined one’s enemies as those who curse us, hate us and try to take advantage of us selfishly. Jesus stated that Israel should demonstrate God’s love even to her enemies (v. 44).

How does a person love an enemy? Man is never commanded to attempt to love his enemy on the basis of mere human affection but rather on the basis of a love which comes from God. It is not something that man can “muster up” within himself. In other words Christian love is an act of the will and not simply an emotion. This kind of love is expressed by blessing them that curse you, doing good to them that hate you and praying for them that despitefully use you.

Jesus goes on to say that to love only those who love you (v. 46) and greet only your  brothers (v. 47) is no more than the tax collectors do. He expects us to live on a much higher plane than lost people of the world who return good for good and evil for evil. The word perfect (v. 48) does not imply sinless perfection as some have implied, for this is impossible in this life. Instead it suggests completeness and maturity as the sons of God.

Application

If I have someone that has some bad feelings toward me I need to figure out what steps I will need to take to restore that strained relationship.

Matthew 5:43-48 (English Standard Version)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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