The Sermon on the Mount

Day 12: Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-48, Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:34-40, Luke 6:36, Romans 12:9-21, 1 John 3:18


What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Today’s reading reminds us of the grand priority of every disciple of Christ: Love. Love God, love your neighbor, love one another—and love your enemy.

Like the man who wants to wiggle out of loving his neighbor by asking, “Who’s my neighbor?”—do you wonder, “Well, who’s my enemy?” We may not have arch enemies or a nemesis we battle on the hillside. But we have enemies, those who are against us and those we are against.

Is your boss a jerk to you? Do you cold-shoulder him in the hall? What about that co-worker who’s always bashing Christianity? How do you view him? How do you treat him? I’m sure your neighbors all park their cars in their garages and never clog up the street and never mow their grass at weird times.

Brothers, we either have enemies, or we make enemies in the depths of our hearts. The Lord Jesus calls us to love them.

Sadly, we think we are doing enough if we aren’t being a jerk in response to the jerks around us. But the kingdom’s ethics are bigger, and bloodier, than we think. Passivity isn’t love. The verb-quality of love moves us to honor, serve, pray for, and be kind to our enemies. Love doesn’t cold-shoulder people. Love greets. Love doesn’t get fed up. Love endures. Love doesn’t pre-judge someone because of their race, ethnicity, or accent. If we only love those who are like us, we aren’t living the crucified and risen life with Christ. We are living in our flesh.

God loved His enemies: you and me (Romans 5:10). Sons of God are empowered by the Son of God to love their enemies like He loved His. For their good.

Jesus loved His enemies to the point of death—His own. A blood-stained cross is our template. Death to self is the first step toward loving our haters. Because the gospel is true—because you’ve experienced the love of God—which enemy will you love today? Jesus is ready to help.

Written by J. A. Medders