Why We Must Love Our Enemies

Luke 6: 27-38
1 Cor 8:1b-7,11-13 / Ps 139

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them.
(Luke 6:32)

Let our yardstick be compassion,
To measure every mistake or wrong;
Kindness in every occasion
Lightens the hearts including our own.

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful... Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6: 27-38)

Reflection

Any self-respecting practical man will probably tell you that in today’s age of racial conflicts and social injustices, loving your enemy and doing good to someone who wants to see you go down, or lending without expecting repayment will either leave you poorer, injured, or at the very least the laughing stock among your peers. But this is exactly what Jesus did in His short life here on earth, if only to show us that the “great payback” will not be here in this life but in the next. Our Lord is telling us not to expect recompense for favors we extend, or reciprocal action from the recipients of our kindness, because their payment is nothing compared to the reward that God will give us: “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” Who can match God’s generosity? And if God, the Most High can be so kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, can you imagine the kind of reward that He will give to those who imitate His compassion and goodness?

In dealing with our enemies, the Psalmist wrote: “Trust in the LORD and do good; that you may dwell in the land and live secure... Commit your way to the Lord; trust that God will act, and make your integrity shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” (Psa 37:3,5-9) We do not know the plans that God has laid out for us in the future; but He wants us to trust Him, that a greater good can come out even from the evil that men do to us. This was the case in the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, who, because of his brothers’ anger and envy of him, was sold as a slave to Egypt. (Gen, ch.37-45) But as he told his brothers when he revealed himself to them, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing or reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:4-8)

Jesus is telling us that God’s love is unconditional, and knows no boundaries. He also loves the sinners and wants to save them too. He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mt. 5:44-45) He wants us to return good for the wrong done to us because by doing so we might be able to win them over to His kingdom.

Most loving Father, thank You for making us understand that it is in loving that we can counter evil, and it is in kindness that we can manifest Your love in this cruel world. Send us Your Holy Spirit to strengthen our resolve to give witness of Your loving plan to others, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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