Love Your Enemies

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


The Pharisees taught that a person should love those near and dear to them but that their enemies should be hated (v. 43). 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). Then you will be acting like your father in heaven who makes the sun and the rain and sends them both to people who do right and to those who do wrong. (v. 45).

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 doing 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. Our goal should be to always act like our Father.


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)

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