‘But to you who are listening I saw: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. - Luke 6:27-36

The heading of these verses, Loving Your Enemies, makes the topic of these verses pretty black and white. Love. Your. Enemies. Seems pretty simple, right?

Wrong.

If it were really all that simple, I don't think that Jesus would have taught on this subject as often as He did. He knew it wasn't an easy thing to do, but encourages us to do so anyways. So let's figure out how we can do this well, because as Christ followers, we are told to do this. (even though, tbh, we don't always want to)

In these verses, the way to love your enemy is basically the complete opposite of what our natural instinct as humans is to do. Someone hurts you? My first reaction is to hurt them back. Someone hates me? My first reaction is to hate them right back. But Christianity doesn't work like that. If Jesus had hurt everyone who hurt Him, or hated everyone who hated Him, He would have spent His whole life getting back at people. But He did the total opposite. He loved the ones who were mean to Him, the ones who hated Him, and the ones who mistreated Him. The way He loved EVERYONE is amazing. We should use this love as an example of how to love others, even our 'enemies'. You might be thinking, "I don't think I have any enemies. People like me." Which may be true. But don't use that as an excuse to not love people the way Jesus did. Don't be a neutral lover, love well. Jesus' love and mercy for us should set the perfect path for us to follow. Yes, it will feel unnatural to love your enemies, or people you have a hard time loving, but Jesus promises us that our reward will be great if we follow this command. So I would urge you to love really well. Whether you choose to love your roommates, your classmates, or your family, be intentional with your love. Show the love of Christ to all those around you.

Jesus, thank You for setting the perfect example of loving your enemies. Thank You for the way that You love me, even when I don't deserve it. Would You teach me to follow Your example and to show Your love to all those around me. Would I be marked by Your love. It's in Your name I pray, Amen.

- Alex Raines