Jesus is turning the world on its head. He’s telling the wretched of this world that the kingdom of God is theirs. He also issues a warning to the worldly that their status in this world won’t give them a free pass into God’s kingdom. Then, the first thing that he says after that is to love your enemies! Talk about tough. That’s a tall order to fill. There are some who immediately pop into mind when the word ‘enemy’ is used. The thought of loving them is not a reaction easy to do.
Our preacher used the story of Joseph as an example. It begins in Genesis 37. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Later in the story, his brothers come to Egypt to buy corn during a famine. Little do they know that Joseph is the governor. Through some wrangling Joseph demands that they bring their brother, Benjamin, to him. When they do this, he reveals who he is. Joseph could have done whatever he wished to them but he harbors no ill will toward them. Instead he comforts them and tells them it’s okay because it was God’s plan. Joseph wouldn’t have been in Egypt otherwise. That is love.
The second example was Elisha in II Kings 6. Syria is warring against Israel. Elisha prays that the LORD blind the Syrian army. They were blinded and led to Samaria. Their sight was restored. The king of Israel could have slain them. He doesn’t, though, because Elisha tells him to feed them and let them go. These are mortal enemies. This is ‘love your enemies’ for sure.
It’s not an easy thing to do. But, Christians are instructed to seek the highest good for the other person. It says to love your enemies. No exceptions are listed.