Jesus said to his disciples: 43“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Love your enemies. Jesus comes not to “accommodate” himself to the values of the world but to turn them upside down because these are often against the values of the Kingdom. Some “human” values seem acceptable and have found their way among philosophical systems. To love your friends and hate your enemies is one of them—a quid pro quo arrangement. Another is to lend only to those who can pay you back; after all, debts are meant to be repaid. So when Jesus teaches that his followers should love those who hate them and pray for their persecutors, he is going against the “normal” standards of the world.
In fact, Christ’s ways and values are totally radical, and people find it difficult to follow them. And yet, if we reflect on why we should walk the way of Jesus, it makes sense: God “makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” God showers his blessings on everyone, both the good and the bad. God does not choose to be good only to the good.
Do we take seriously the radical challenge of Jesus’ Gospel? Or are we content with navigating and compromising between the world’s values and those of the Kingdom?
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.