Reading Jesus’ “love your enemies” speech hits a little harder in context, doesn’t it? We’ve just read that the Pharisees are breathing down his neck, their bitterness for him fanning into flame. He just called his disciples, one of which is described as “Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor”, which Jesus was completely aware of when he chose him as an apostle.
The people he’s asking us to love are not lovable. And the love he’s asking us to extend is not available apart from him. Lend something without wanting it back? Give things away to ungrateful people? Give to everyone who begs? Love people who are still all bound up in their brokenness and operating out of sin? I don’t want to do any of these things.
The last couple paragraphs give us some practical ways to imitate the kind of love Jesus is talking about.
Don’t judge people (6:37). That is not your job and going down that road makes it way harder to love them. Instead? Believe the best in them. God’s love believes all things. (1 Corinthians 13)
Tend to your own godliness (6:43). Jesus mentions producing good fruit. How does this happen? Pruning out the crap in your life that’s harmful and nurturing yourself with Scripture, prayer and edification.
Prioritize a firm foundation (6:49). Stay rooted in Jesus. This love your enemies business is not possible without him. He will extend your the grace, patience and mercy it requires to love people well. But you gotta set up camp with him.
Are you as refreshed as I am to be back in the gospels reading about Jesus? What verse did you connect with?