Our eleventh week into The Sermon takes us to Jesus’ exhortation towards greater righteousness in loving our enemies — Something that we’re all good at, right? Or maybe not...
Jesus’ Seventh ‘New Command’ is the final of Jesus’ antithesis (all of his “You have heard it was said,… but I say to you” statements). And like the previous six, he doesn’t pull any punches. What Jesus does here by calling ALL of his disciples to love their enemies crystallizes the essential ethic of all of his other commands — the centrality of love.
To love our enemies means, at the very least according to Jesus, to pray for them. And to love them and to commit to pray for them means that we are to be close to them and mindful of them. It means that we need to be the sort of people who long for and work towards the ultimate good of our enemies. And because the type of love that Christ calls us to cannot be reduced to mere “tolerance,” working for the good of another, including our enemies, means striving for them to become the sort of person/people that God wants them to be!
By doing this, we reveal that we are true disciples of Christ AND feel even more deeply our status as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father!