Love Your Enemies, Really?


43 “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,

Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV


On January 14, 2001, RoS extended the call for me to be your Senior Pastor after serving here for 7 and a half years as your AP Youth Minister and six months as your Interim Pastor. Just eight months later 9-11 happened.


As soon as I saw that second plane hit, I jumped in my car and headed to pray with a group of local pastors. Later that evening, we had a prayer gathering in the worship center for those who wanted to come.


To be honest, the prayers that were prayed that day were for us, our nation, for the victims and their families, and for God to use this day to bring a revival. There were also prayers for our military and for those who were responsible to be brought to justice and punished.


This is the 20th anniversary of that dreadful day. The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the killing of those young marines at the airport have opened a lot of feelings and emotions. As Americans, it’s sometimes hard to understand why a group of people from across the world is our enemy and wants to kill us.


I just preached a message on the last Sunday in August on the command Jesus gave to the church to “love (Agape) one another just as He loved us.” In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a more radical statement. He says we should “love our enemies.” The word for love in this passage is agape.


Does Jesus really mean that we are to love our enemies? And does He really mean that we should love our enemies with the same kind of love that we are to love our fellow believers? According to Matthew and a parallel passage in Luke’s Gospel, the answer is yes. We are to agape love our enemies.


What would this love look like? Matthew 5:44 states: "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,” In other words, we treat them the opposite way they treat us. We love them unconditionally, we bless them when they curse us, we do good to our haters, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us.


In the twenty years after 9-11, not much has changed. We still have enemies who hate us and want to kill us. We still have people who curse us and persecute Christians. For over two thousand years, the same can be said. As Christians, we will always have enemies, the question is, how will we respond to them?


Will we love our enemies?


I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.

Jeff


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