Summary: It is natural for us to hate those who treat us poorly. It seems outrageous to do anything else, right? But, we forget that Jesus came to bring a new way of doing things; He wants us to treat our enemies right. Check out what He says . . .
Treating Your Enemies Right
Think back to someone(s) who hurt you deeply.
Ever asked the question, “What am I supposed to do with these angry feelings?”
What if you could speak to Jesus about this? What if he could answer you? What might he say?
First, Jesus starts w/ the law: love neighbor & hate your enemies.
“Hate your enemy” is not in the Old Testament law. Jesus is probably referring to the fact that scribes added this to the law (like they added many other laws).
It is natural for us to hate those who treat us poorly. It seems outrageous to anything else right? Right. But, we forget that Jesus came to bring a new way of doing things.
Jesus says, “BUT I SAY”
Question: Are we willing to listen to Jesus?
Are you willing to try Jesus’ words?
Are you willing to treat your enemies the right way?
Here it is . . .
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
BACKGROUND INTO CULTURE: Estimated that ½ of Roman citizens were economic slaves. Jewish state was occupied by Rome’s soldiers.
Jews of that time had plenty of opportunities to “turn the other cheek” and “go with him an extra mile.”
When you have no control over your circumstances, remember you have control over one thing—your attitude.
Who are the people I am to love?
Those who curse you.
Those who are physically aggressive to you.
Those who demand things of you.
Those who ask you do to things for them.
Those who take things from you.
Treating them with love is “returning good for evil.”
Joseph did this for his brothers.
You say, “I am not sure I can do this.”
You are right, you probably can’t.
This kind of love only comes from God; here is where you get this kind of love.
PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES
When you love and pray for your enemies, you are acting like children of your Father (not illegitimate children).
We want to be called children of God, but we do not necessarily want the corresponding responsibility attached to it.
You are never reflecting your Father’s love more clearly than when you reach out to someone you know will not return the love.
That is AGAPE LOVE: a love that acts without expecting anything in return.
You say, “What do you mean we reflect well on God when we forgive?”
God gives sunlight and rain to just/unjust. He loves us all the same.
When we love those who love us, that’s easy.
When we love those who seem against us, that’s godly.
Jesus: “Tax collectors love as good as you.”
Even pagans love those who love them back.
What will distinguish us as followers of Christ?
Not buildings, not programs, not clergy, but love.
Not our stance on homo-marriage, abortion, or cloning, but the way we love/dialogue with those with whom we disagree.
Someone says “I’m not sure I can love and pray for my enemy like that.
QUESTION & ANSWER
Do Jesus’ words apply to a wife being physically abused by her husband?
Why such a dramatic change from the OT to the words of Jesus? (eye for eye vs. do not resist an evil person.
Pastor Vinnie Cappetta, PhD
Cornerstone Community Church