Bible Study Lessons — Matthew 5:43-48
Do you love your family? your friends?
Of course you do – so do I . But, what about those who have done you wrong? Do you love the people who dislike you? What did Jesus say about loving your enemies?
Jesus says it’s easy to love a dear friend. In this Matthew study lesson from the Gospel, He warrants no effort for the love of a friend or family member for the most part but loving an enemy is cherished.
Jesus Says: “Love Your Enemies”
“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, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48 NASB
What Did Jesus Really Say about Loving Your Enemies?
When I first started reading this passage I was a little confused. Love your enemies?
Then, as I read further to verse 46 I realized what Jesus meant.
It is easy to love those who love us back. We can love those people with almost no effort on our part. So, what did we accomplish for God by loving and cherishing them?
By teaching us not to retaliate, Jesus keeps us from taking the law into our own hands. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good.
Who Should We Love?
The Pharisees interpreted Leviticus 19:18 as teaching that they should love only those who love in return. They took Psalm 139:19-22 and 140:9-11 as meaning that they should hate their enemies.
But Jesus says we are to love our enemies. If you love your enemies and treat them well, you will truly show that Jesus is Lord of your life.
This is possible only for those who give themselves fully to God, because only He can deliver people from natural selfishness.
Use the Holy Spirit to Guide You
We must trust the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love.
Love Each Other?
Of course! I am certainly not saying that we shouldn’t love our friends and family, not at all.
But as Christians we should at least make an effort to care for those who hate us because that is precisely what Christ did when He died on the cross.
He gave his life for a world who hated him so that we might have life. Can we at least try to love those who have wronged us and pray for them?
The quote in the meme at the top is from the address Richard M. Nixon gave to his staff right before he left the White House. It has stuck with me and is worth repeating:
“Always remember that others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them back.”
Love in Christ
If you would like to learn more about how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read this page to learn more.
Read Today’s Verses Here:
New American Standard Bible
New King James Version