"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you " Matthew 5:43-44 NASB
In the sixth and final contrasting statement that deals with righteousness that goes beyond action to attitude and character, Jesus describes love in action. While scripture taught that you were to love your neighbor, it was rationalized by many teachers of that day that it was proper and expected that you would hate your enemy.
Jesus however stated that you were to love and pray for your enemies. The righteous person demonstrated God's love for all people even when opposed by those doing wrong. This love desires the best for others and seeks to bring them to a right relationship with God.
Lord Jesus, help me to love my enemies and lead them to a saving relationship with You. Let Your love, mercy, and grace overflow throughout my life.
Max Hutto is a Baptist Minister. More information can be found at www.upwardlook.org.