“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
In today’s political climate, Jesus’ teaching about loving our enemies is one that is largely forgotten and ignored even by many Christians. To be fair, this teaching is probably one of the most difficult passages in the Bible, not difficult to understand, but difficult to put into action. We are called on to love those who mistreat us, to do good to those who persecute us. This is exactly what Joseph did for his brethren even though he held a high political office in ancient Egypt and could have had them executed.
The love that Christ commands here is not merely an emotional feeling or a positive regard for someone. It is a radical action performed in response to oppression, abuse and malice. If we love those who insult or hurt us, we will choose not to retaliate, seek revenge or say nasty things about them. We will not only choose to not take offense, but we will go out of our way to bless them. And blessing means we pray for those we consider our enemies or who considers us theirs. We pray they would be filled with the righteousness and wisdom of God. Blessing means we pray that person change his ways and come to faith in Christ. Blessing means we will not take part in demonstrations or violence of any kind, but we will actually respect them and do good things for them.
So how we can bless people when traveling on the subways and highways during rush hour or shopping at our favorite store, or posting on social media? How can we bless people who antagonize us with words and deeds we find offensive? How can we bless those in hold political power but engage in corruption and promote injustice? The love Christ calls for towards such people contradicts all that the world recommends. We would rather lash out, get even, gain the upper hand and such is the way of the world. No one wants to get stepped on or viewed as weak but the weak are the very ones who get into the Kingdom of God. Only the weak know they are sinners and in need of a Savior. So we would ourselves be blessed if we do as Christ has taught us rather than what the world commends.