43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 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, 45 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.Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV)
There was a time when I thought the only way someone might be my enemy was in the unlikely event that I were to be involved in a war. Anyone fighting on the other side would become my enemy. But I thought in my day to day life, while I might have disagreements with people, that would never make them an enemy.
In our current divisive climate, however, it sometimes seems that anyone who expresses an opinion we don’t agree with becomes the enemy. Although this is distressing, it is also an opportunity for us, as Christians, to mature in our faith by obedience to this most difficult commandment of Christ.
When we encounter those with differing views of the current turmoil in our country and our world, we can choose to respond in a mature, kind, respectful manner while praying for God’s power and discernment in their lives and in our own.
The Message translation of the verse above puts Jesus’ command in words we can’t fail to understand:
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.Matthew 5:43-45 (MSG)
We are engaged in spiritual warfare, make no mistake, but our Enemy in this battle is found in the spiritual realm.