The Difficulty of Loving

Matthew 5:43-48
2Cor 8:19 / Psa 146

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:44-45)

God loves even those whom we reject
For their perceived inequities;
He wants our love to be perfect
By praying for our enemies.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

Reflection

Yiu can just imagine how hard this teaching must have been to accept in our Lord’s time, just as it is still hardly acceptable in our own day and age. But the truthfulness of those words ha.ve endured through the thousands of years since they were first spoken.

Loving our enemies does not mean we have to love them the way we love the people who are close to us. Loving our enemies simply means forgiving them and praying for their conversion. When His apostles asked Him to teach them how to pray, one of the most important parts of the Lord’s Prayer was “… forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who do us wrong…” (Luke 11:4). Unless we forgive, our love can never be genuine..

Loving, as our Lord has taught us, also means giving of ourselves to another, regardless of his status, tribe or affiliation. When a teacher of the law asked our Lord who this “neighbor” was that he should love, Jesus told His listeners a parable about the good Samaritan, who was “moved with compassion” for a total stranger who was waylaid by thieves and left for dead. Such a kind of love was foreign to the Jews who hated the Samaritans. But our Lord’s subtle message was to build a loving relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans.

Our Lord Jesus wants us to receive the grace to understand that all the people we come in contact with, regardless of position or affiliation deserve to be loved, because as He said, “The Father makes His sun rise on both the wicked and the good.” (Matt.5:45)

Forgive me, Lord, if I am biased in my dealings with others just because they do not share my beliefs, or because of my prejudices. Help me to see You in the faces of all people, especially in those whom I consider my enemies, so that I may learn to forgive and love them. Amen.

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