In Matthew 5:43-48 is another well known passage where Jesus is teaching on loving your enemies. Matt 5:44 says “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Bonhoffer in “Cost of Discipleship” clarifies enemies are those who have hostility against us, not necessarily those against who we have hostility against. How we treat people in those situations says a lot about where our hope is based and how much we understand we have been loved by God in Jesus.
v47 is pretty key in understanding this concept – “and if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?”
Christians are called to go beyond what others do and say. We are called to be different. Called to stand out. In all situations, we are called to glorify God. This is different, “extraordinary.” The temptation is to blend in, to not stand out from others. Yet we see from the Word of God that we are called to “do more.” This isn’t an effort based system of earning God’s favor, but if you are disciple of Jesus you are already accepted by God. Now, we work to go beyond the norm, we avoid sin, we love our enemies — because of who we are in Christ.
If we are truly living our lives according to God’s word – we will stand out. Sometimes this will be hard, as anyone who desires to live a Godly life will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12). We are not promised an easy, financially prosperous, and healthy life – no matter what the false teachers on the “Preachers of LA” say.
But, what we do know, is that a life lived for God’s glory is the most fulfilled life that one can have, because we are walking in obedience to our Creator, and living a life of love, and in that is the blessing of growing in Christ and being more and more filled with the knowledge of Him as we go thru life. Only in that is true peace and joy.