In today’s gospel of Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus continues to teach what we can call the true hallmarks of the Christian life. Though the teachings may be hard to take but doing them is what truly separates us from the world.
So, in today’s gospel of Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus continues to teach us the true meaning of the commandments and what they signify.
In the episode of today, He asks His disciples “Love your Enemies and Pray for those who persecute you”.
Thereby, in the gospel of today, Jesus says to his disciples ” you have heard that it was said “love your neighbour and do not do good to your enemy but this I tell you “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
Beloved, can you please read this again and again. This is one of the hardest tasks of a Christian. But this we have to do if we are truly sons of God.
The Enemy and the Persecutor.
1. “Enemy” comes from the Latin word ”inimicus”, and means simply “not a friend” or opponent.
It does not mean that everyone who is not your friend is your enemy. Enemies are those who don’t just like you for anything.
They are the people who when they hear anything about you, must find something negative to say. Enemies are those who hate you for no just cause.
Enemies are those who are not happy about anything good happening in your life. When you wrong them, they refuse to forgive you and are interested only in pulling you to the mud.
Enemies may laugh with you but inside their hearts, they are full of evil, revenge, hatred and wickedness.
They are those, who are totally in opposition with you, their only interest is to see you fall.
While persecutors are those who suffer you without stopping. They may even go diabolical to pull you down.
Sometimes, their interests would be to end your life. So how can Jesus be telling us to pray for them when He knows they are the reasons behind our downfall and suffering?
2. There are people whom we truly offended sometimes intentionally and unintentionally and then apologized, but instead of forgiving you, they continue to spread false accusations against you, convincing people to believe lies against you. They blatantly refused to accept your apologies.
3. There are people who just hate you for no just cause, those who are jealous of you. They set themselves as oppositions in your life. Some hold grudges for you and have refused to let go. And some people seem to dislike us. Their interests are to wish us ill for no good reason.
The truth about this is that whether you are good or bad, these people exist in your life. Therefore, this is a sad part of human life.
When we hear Jesus telling us to love our enemies and Pray for those who persecute us, those who are bent on destroying us, it seems to make things even harder. But this is what makes us live like God who causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good. He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
So, let us see some reasons to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This write-up is lengthy because I know many people, institutions, organizations, families etc today are suffering in this chaos.
1. The Greek word for love used by Jesus today is agape. Which signifies the love of God. In essence, God loves us even though we reproach Him through our sins ( Romans 5:8). Hence, Jesus is asking us to do the same. Today, He says ” so that you may be children of God”.
2. Despite how Jesus suffered greatly, yet at the cross, He forgave and prayed for His persecutors. Then teaching us that no matter what people do to us how they treat us, how they insult us. No matter their actions, let us never entertain a single bitterness nor grudge against them. What we owe them are prayer and forgiveness. Therefore, put everything in the hands of God.
3. Always know that you cannot force anyone to like you. It is a useless venture. It is very useless too to try to change them. Simply let go. We must not respond to everything. Keep calm and free your heart.
The truth is that praying for them and letting go save you a lot. They keep you from psychological trauma and give you serenity. When you are not at peace with your inner self, your health might be in crisis. So, to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you is liberating.
4. To love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you does not mean you have to befriend them overnight, nor does it mean you acknowledge their actions.
Allowing evil is also uncharitable. But It simply means you forgive them. It shows who you are as a child of the most high God.
5. What Jesus is telling us is hard, but it’s not impossible. It is a necessity too, Jesus simply wants us to be free and happy. Grudges, unforgiveness and revenge put us in serious chains.
6a. When you show your enemies love and pray for your persecutors, you bring up serious judgement against them from God.
The problem is no longer you but them. Romans 12:20-21 says “if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Therefore, do not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good”.
6b. Vengeance belongs to God (Deut 32:35). In Romans 12:19, God says “My children never try to seek for revenge but leave that to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord”.
Therefore, Beloved, never take that revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.
For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19). Sometimes in trying to revenge we cause more harm.
7. To love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us is a command from God. Therefore, we are bound to obey.
8. We need to continually obey God to keep our hope alive for eternity. The worst mistake that will happen to any soul is to leave this earthly life with hurts and grudges.
God has promised His children that we will live in a perfect place, free from want, worry, fear and mourning. No human can take that away from us. So why taking grudges to the world beyond?
9. There is a reward for this kind of sacrifice. Therefore, there is a reward when you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Here, Jesus says:
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35).
10. We love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us because God has already given us the standard.
He does this by feeding and protecting everyone despite that we do not deserve it. What right do we have to be less kind than God?
So, We do it because God has said so. To love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you is a commandment for all the children of God. Loving our enemies means seeing them as human beings in need of God’s love. So, pray for them.
To do these we simply need the grace of God. Hating an enemy is what comes naturally. We need supernatural help. We need the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to overcome all our challenges Amen.