“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.” (Matthew 5:41)
How do you handle that kind of person who wants to push you around, say bad things to you or hurt you? In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus helped people understand that God’s love went beyond what they had learned in the law of Moses. Under that law, God allowed people to take revenge that was equal to the harm done to them. This sounds fair for the punishment should fit the crime. If a man had an eye blinded in a fight, the injured man could blind the eye of the man who hurt him. If a man knocked out the tooth of another man, the injured man could knock out a tooth of the one who hurt him. But Jesus said something different. He told us not to resist the evil inflicted on us. He told us if someone hits us in the face, turn the other cheek and not seek revenge when we are harmed. He told us to do good to those who hurt us.
Jesus’ words are very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches revenge and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. But God has a great way of turning our way of thinking upside-down. Jesus showed us how much God loves us and helps us understand how we can express God’s love and forgiveness to others and it is not by seeking retaliation. It is by being like Jesus. He gave his life for us on the cross so that we can be forgiven for all of our sin. Even though we did not deserve it, even though our sin brought Him to the cross, Jesus went the extra mile for us. The point is, that even if someone is bad to us we do not have to be bad in return. Being bad solves nothing, it does not change people. But being good does change people and makes them your friends. Sounds hard doesn’t it. Well Jesus will help us to follow His way if we ask Him.