24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
If you are willing to listen…
Jesus then says some difficult things to live.
The manner of life of the Christian is such that we live for others. The measure of this life is to love our enemies. Are we willing to hear this? When people are rude, slanderous, thieving and lying toward us what is our response? Do we engage them with love or hatred? Do we give them place in our lives, do we reach out to them?
To lend without expectation of repayment to someone who hates us is an extreme measure. Yet this is what Jesus asks of us, citing that God is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
I need to truly identify those who are enemies to me, people I do not get along with and look at how I am treating them. Do I respond with indifference, which is what I think I do and instead engage them, not simply tolerate them and then ignore them. I need to deal with the hurt in my heart and forgive and engage them.
Father give me grace and courage to love my enemies.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta