Love Those Who Do Not Love You & Pray For Those Who Harass You

   The Lord Jesus tell's us "Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you" in Matthew 5:44. Many of us do as the old law states, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy" according to Jesus in Matthew 5:43, which He quotes from Leviticus 19:18,19. Upon reading this passage I had three observations followed with a series of questions.

Observation #1 - I am supposed to love my enemy. 
Question #1: Who is my enemy?
    They are those who feel a hatred for me. Those who desire to do me harm. My enemy is anyone who presents themselves as an opponent to my-self.

Question #2: What kind of love do I show towards my enemy? What does Jesus mean "love your enemy"?
     The Greek word for love here is agapao, and it means to actively do what the Lord prefers. So, Jesus is teaching us that He wants us to love our enemies the way He prefers and not how we prefer. And if you were to ask Jesus this question, I think, He would respond with this - "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" in Matthew 22:39.
      You might ask, who is my neighbor? I hope you are, you should be at this point. Jesus gives us the answer in Luke 10:29-37, our neighbor are not those who are friendly or close in proximity alone, but those who are our rivalry and distant. Just as the Samaritan aided the Jew. So Jesus prefers me to love those who do not love me as I love my-self.

Observation #2 - I am to pray for those who persecute me.
Question #1: Who is my persecutor?
    A persecutor is one who harasses you or oppresses you or troubles you persistently. The grounds of which they do so can be due to your religion or political beliefs, and even because of your ethic or racial origin. Just a quick reminder - Jesus calls us to pray for them.

Question #2: What does Jesus mean by pray for them?
    Do I pray for their harm considering their harassment towards me? No. The word prayer here means, to exchange wishes; to literally interact with the Lord by switching my wish for His. What is my natural wish for those who harm me? Harmful retaliation. What is Jesus' wish? That we should love our persecutors and be merciful to them as God was and is merciful to us (Luke 6:27-36).
    So, prayer for my persecutors is exchanging my desire for harmful retaliation for Jesus' desire of love and mercy. To which I say, to be loving and be merciful towards my enemy and my persecutor will certainly require prayer. Impossible by my natural self but possible with God's supernatural work in my life.

Question #3: Why does Jesus instruct us in this manner?
    The answer, according to Jesus in Matthew 5:45, is "so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." There are two implications here:

Implication #1) Loving my enemy and praying for my persecutor makes me a son of God.
By loving my enemy and praying for my persecutor I am a child of God, but hating my enemy and praying ill-will towards my enemy is of Satan. The reason is, love is from God, for God is love. And if we hate those who we can see, we cannot possibly love God who we cannot see according to 1 John 4:7,20.

Implication #2) God is just.
God allows the blessings of the rain and the sun to fall on both the evil and the righteous. Being that God is just, fair and impartial, what gives us, His creation, any right to be unjust to the wicked? There is not one. God says in Micah 6:8 what is good and what He requires of man, for us "to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God." Be just as God is just.

Observation #3 - Loving those who love me and greeting those who welcome me makes me no different than one who is unsaved.
   Jesus said in Matthew 5:46 and 47, "if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your bothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?" The implication here then would be: if I am no different in my behavior than a sinner is, doing good to those only who do good to me and loving those only who love me back, then I am one - a sinner. Jesus, being saved by Jesus, calls me to be different. As a result, Christ our Lord, calls us to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" in Matthew 5:48.

Question #1) What does Jesus mean by the word "perfect"?
   Understand right off, being perfect as the Father is perfect is a natural impossibility. No man can be perfect as God is, simply because man is fallen. I do not think, no I know not, that is what Jesus means. The word "perfect" in the Greek means to be complete in the character of God. It means to conform to God's ideal type.
  What that implies is that I conform to God. That as God is just, fair, loving and merciful, that I be all those as well. He desires us to be like Himself, for He loved me, His enemy, and demonstrated it by sending Christ to die on a cross. God especially commands this of those who have tasted the goodness of His grace. For, I once was evil, but while I was evil God loved me, His enemy. Now being saved, God expects and commands that those of us who have tasted said grace do what God has done for us. In doing so, we show the love of God, and He is glorified. This is made possible only by God's supernatural work in our life.


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