THE HARDEST TO LOVE

THE HARDEST TO LOVE
 
 Is there anyone in your life who is hard to love?
 
 In Matthew 5-7, otherwise known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus teaches his disciples how to be like him   in all kinds of areas. For many of us, the words which Jesus spoke that may be the hardest to follow are “love   your enemies.”
 
 Matthew 5:43 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
 If we look closely, Jesus doesn’t say “You have read it,” he says, “You have heard it said.”
 We can search the Scriptures all we want, but we won’t find a command anywhere that explicitly says “hate your   enemy.” So what was Jesus doing?
 In this instance, he was clarifying some texts in the book of Leviticus that had been misinterpreted over time to   the point where God’s people thought that loving one another only applied to friends and family.
 Leviticus 19:18 says this: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people but love your   neighbor as yourself.”
 
 So yes, the precedent to love the neighbor was set early on, but what exactly was meant by “neighbor?”
 This is how the debates and misinterpretations started, but Jesus set the record straight by raising the standard.   For Jesus, it starts with loving ourselves because it’s too hard (if not impossible) to share the love of God if we   don’t see ourselves how He does. From there, God’s love extends to our loved ones, but it doesn’t stop there. If   we’re following Jesus, God’s love flows through us to the people that are the most difficult for us to love.
 
 At the moment when evil did its most damage, Jesus’ desire was that his enemies be forgiven. Even killing Him   wasn’t enough to hold back His love, so what’s holding you back from genuinely loving your enemy? Jesus’   resurrection is proof that following Him leads to true life, so when you think about it, is the cost of extending   mercy to your enemy actually greater than the reward?