Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  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, 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.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Love like God.  Love that is perfect and pure.  Love that is holy.  Love that is not tainted by any sin or malice.  That is the love that God wants us to show.  That is the love of God.  Love that is just like the love of God.

Today, as it was back in the time of Jesus, it is easy to love people who are nice to us and hate those who are our enemies.  People who are mean to us are not easy to love.  People who are nice are far easier to love as they are loving to us.  People who dislike us are tougher to love because they are not liking us.  We tend to reciprocate feelings given to us.  We file this in “treat us as we treat others.”

Jesus challenges us, though.  Completely thinking outside of the normal.  Out of the box.  Unconventional.  Jesus wants us to love our enemies.  Yes, love them.  For the people who are mean to us, we are to love them.  People ignoring you?  Love them.  All that is evil that is done to us is to be given back by showing love.  Show love to hate.  Show love like Jesus shows.  We all don’t deserve love and yet Jesus died for us, showing us love beyond measure.

Blessings in place of curses.  If cursed, give a blessing.  Blessings to those who don’t deserve it.  Again, we are blessed with the gift of salvation and we don’t deserve it.  We don’t deserve any kindness from God and yet, He showers blessings on us daily.  How much easier is it to bless others when God has blessed us despite all that we have done?  Showing blessings to others, even our enemies, is easier when we realize and acknowledge that Jesus has blessed us beyond our comprehension.

Do good to those who hate us.  In a consistent trend, Jesus did so much good for us despite our hatred.  When we hate, we come in opposition to God.  When we hate, we make ourselves an enemy of God.  Yet, God still did good for us and sent His Son to die to save us from our sin.

Pray for those that use and persecute you.  When someone takes from you, it is very likely that need what they took.  If it is money, pray that they get better financial help and support.  If it is a vehicle, pray that they find better means of transportation.  God blesses us with so much that if something is taken, God will replace it and repay you if you pray and show love to others.

If you are persecuted, pray.  Pray for protection against it.  Take comfort in knowing that even Jesus, who was and is perfect, was persecuted.  When we are made fun of for what we believe, pray that those who are doing this.  It is their souls that need help from God.  If someone laughs because you pray, pray all the more for them and that they learn love God like you do.

If we are diligent to do these things, we will be welcomed into Heaven as sons and daughters of God.  God loves those that love His creation.  Everyone created is God’s creation.  We should love all because all are God’s.  Showing love to others is just like showing love to God.

The sun rises on all.  Whether you follow God or not, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west.  Rain falls on everyone as well.  Rain and sun do not just come to those who are good or those who are bad.  The sun and rain come to all.  God also comes to the bad as we are all bad prior to the acceptance of Jesus.  None of us are good on our own.  None of us can save ourselves.

Christians should set themselves apart from non-Christians.  If the lines are so blurred that one cannot tell if a person is a Christ follower or not, there is a problem.  A Christ follower should be on a different level.  Set apart from the world.  Set apart as Jesus is set apart from the world.  So much of the time, people who are saved do not change their ways.  God asks different of us as followers of Him.

We are to love as God loves.  We are to live as God lives.  Can we do this by ourselves?  Not on our own.  We need God.  We need Jesus.  We need the Holy Spirit.  Together, all parts of God can make us perfect.  Not almost perfect but perfect.  We will still sin in this body but a new body is given that will know no sin.  We just must wait until Heaven where we will join God and be with Him forever.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this lesson in love.  Let us love like You love.  Help us to see those who are hurting and show them the love that You show us.  Help us to love those who are mean, nasty and otherwise evil because we know that we all sin.  We all fall short of Your perfection, Lord.  We ask that You take our sin and give us perfection instead.  Give us more of You and less of us.  We need Your love and we need to show Your love.  Give us a loving heart to serve all the world.  Thank You for being our loving Father.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

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