In case you haven’t noticed, Jesus said a lot of difficult things in the Sermon on the Mount! In fact, most of His teaching was counter-cultural and would have made his listeners very uncomfortable. Jesus’ teaching went straight to the heart and are difficult for us to hear and obey as well. Perhaps one of the most difficult teachings in the entire sermon is where Jesus says, “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.” The religious leaders of Jesus’ day taught that you only had to love those that loved you. Jesus was clearly calling them, and us, to a much deeper kind of love…even to those that do not love us.
How do we do this? It seems almost impossible. It is impossible in our own power. Jesus is clearly the only one that has ever loved his enemies so deeply that He would forgive the very ones that took His life. Romans 5:8 says that He loved us “while we were still sinners” and enemies of God. So, He is both our example and our strength when it comes to loving those that despise us. As we look to Christ alone, we will find the grace to love our enemies and to do good to those that hate us.