Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:44-45

Friends at Mt. Hood

Photo by Roberto Nickson / Unsplash

“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; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:44–45, LSB

These words of Jesus are hard. How do you love someone that is making your life miserable? The reality is that it requires love to pray honest and faithful prayers. We are called to love because our Lord loves, and the hope is that the Holy Spirit will work on the hearts of all people, including your enemies. This doesn’t make it easier, and this isn’t to say that you agree with how someone acts or treats others. It isn’t saying that bad actions are OK. Jesus didn’t agree with the money changers and those running booths in the temple. Jesus wasn’t happy to be beaten, mocked, or crucified. Jesus loved them. Jesus forgave them. Jesus prayed for them. It is this reality that we are being called to understand: anger may be justified, but hate is never OK, and apathy is much worse. To love is to see the other as a broken person in need of salvation. To love is to not seek to paint things in the worst possible light. To love is to desire for the heart of another to turn to the Lord and know His love and forgiveness, not that they disappear from your life and never bother you again. Love is not only not wishing them harm but desiring their restoration. In our love for our enemies, our prayers are meant to see the broken person as one who we pray sees God’s glory in all creation and the hope that they will see Christ also in you.

Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.