“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.”
Matthew 5:43-45 NIV3
I’m sure you have probably read this passage before. It’s another passage that seems to turn human nature on its head.
It’s another example that proves that the Bible is divinely inspired. Who on earth would encourage you to love your enemies and those who persecute you?
Humans, from a biblical perspective, are created in the image of God. God is the Creator and we are made in that image. He has given us the capacity to create in our own sphere good or bad. In this passage Jesus is asking you to help him create good rather than evil.
Don’t get me wrong Jesus is not telling you that you should willingly submit to persecution or abuse or evil that is done to you and be happy about it.
He is not even telling you to accept the evil that is done in the world. Or accept the evil that is done to other people.
But what he is doing is he is trying to show us how evil is eliminated at it’s very root.
The evil He’s talking about here has its roots in the human heart. It’s in the human heart that Satan is able to manipulate humanity and destroy the image of God in man by having men do ungodly acts (to other men and women).
In this passage Jesus is encouraging you do not let Satan get the upper hand in your heart. Do not let your heart become and reservoir evil thinking or evil beliefs against your fellow sinner (because that’s what you are right?). It is exactly this type of thinking and belief that causes evil deeds.
Jesus encourages you to think positively about evil people (who does that, except God?), or those that are doing evil or acting negatively. He knows that when we think positively about these people or these actions we actually prevent further evil or bad things from being done. And that’s what it’s all about anyway, right?
So, when we say “no” to Satan’s promptings to return evil for evil, in essence we are creating good from that same evil. Sort of like when God created light from darkness.
We are therefore fulfilling His will as His children by doing what Jesus wants us to do.
It’s not complicated. It’s just hard for fallen nature to give in to His will because it’s so 180 degrees different from what we’re used to hearing and seeing.
So, take another look at this passage and allow him to work on your heart. Pray for your enemies, or those who you do not agree with. This may mean people of a different religion then you or people have a different political persuasion than you. From God’s perspective, there is no difference between us.
He wants us to get along with all of his children. Those who think like us and those who don’t.