“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked” (Luke 6:35, NLT).

When we think of enemies, those who hate us and possibly even want to see us destroyed, we don’t think of love. Our first reaction is to hate back, to wish evil on them or at the very least, to get as far away as possible and never have anything to do with them again. This is normal, human and common. Jesus knew the history of the people he was talking to and knew his admonition to love their enemies might surprise them. What a strange idea!

He said this of course, because that’s what God does. As Jesus went on to say, God is kind to the unthankful, wicked, atheists, murderers, liars—in short, everyone. Jesus was sent inside enemy lines to be the savior of the world, because God loves every single person who has ever lived. By nature, humanity is against God, but God is always for humanity, treating us as loved children even when we figuratively thumb our noses at him. It is only with his Spirit in us that we can do the same to each other.

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