A good friend of mine died some time ago after a long battle with lung
cancer. Everyone who knew him would agree that he was as caring, joyful and
positive a person you could ever meet. His heart for people was such a rare gem to
encounter and so much of what we hope for in humanity. People like that make it
easy for you to love them. Undoubtedly, it’s natural to love someone who displays
genuine care and concern for others, or those to whom we are joined as family.
But, Jesus sets a standard beyond that.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your
enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good
to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute
you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father 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. 46 For if
you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors
do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than
others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect,
just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Jesus was once asked, “who is my neighbor?” From that question came the
parable of the Good Samaritan. This passage in Matthew provokes a different
question, “who is my enemy?” Is my enemy the person with a different political
view, a corrupt system of values, or even disregard for God? Clearly, Jesus
identifies an “enemy” as someone who purposely seeks to harm you, whose
sentiment is born from a heart of hate or animosity, and their intent for you is never
The distinction matters because often someone may be regarded as an enemy
for the most absurd reasons. One who was not a foe becomes one because of the
hardness birthed from a false perspective. Such false perspective is often driven by
the narrative of a fallen world that holds dissension in the sum of its’ nature,
compelling us to become like it. Thus, we make ourselves into enemies by
allowing the corruption of the world to define how we see.
God makes His sun shine on the just and unjust. In other words, the blessing
of life, provision, and the opportunity to discover His goodness is provided to all.
Even the most unrighteousness partake of His benevolence in so many ways.
These blessings are given to every person who draws breath, even those who
despise Him. God does good to those who would kill Him if they could. Such
virtue is exampled in His Son.
Within His perfect love and graciousness towards people, there is not only a
desire of good, but also a displeasure in their harm. In Ezekiel 33:11, God
declares, “As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the
wicked turn from his way and live.” Never does God rejoice in the demise of
The standard of truth never gives us occasion to celebrate the harm of
another. When people pass into eternity without Christ it is an occasion of
mourning, even for the most heinous. There are certain realities that will never
change. For example, you reap what you sow is an unfailing, Biblical truth. If a
person sows to the flesh, in whatever form, they will reap corruption. The outcome
is inevitable. However, our part in the matter cannot be disregard for who they
were made to be, or celebration of their loss. How we love the world around us
If we truly understand what has been lost, the permanence of their death, we
cannot help but recognize the tragedy. How sorrowful that a person created for the
glory of God, intended to be in His image, did all they could to be everything else.
What a dreadful thought that a person would spend so much of their time in this
world sowing poisonous seeds and it be the testimony they take into eternity.
To love our enemies means we desire good for them, regardless of their
actions. It also means we don’t let the narrative of this age define to us what our
sentiments should be toward others. The world only knows division and requires
all participants to choose one corrupted side or the other.
Jesus expressed the image of love perfectly. In Him, there is no deficiency
in such expression. “The Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to
save them” (Luke 9:56). A survey of the scripture reveals this declaration was
made regarding people who altogether rejected Him. Yet, His desire for them
never changed. We must be the same.
Our world doesn’t need us to pick a side as though doing so will eliminate
its’ injustices. Our world needs us to become love, stand for the truth of the
gospel, and shine His inexpressible light in the midst of gross darkness. We are the
expression of His image in the Earth. Don’t forget who you are. Don’t let the
world take it from you.