When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He was talking to an occupied people. The Jews in Israel were ruled over by the Roman Empire and by Hebrew legalists who cared more for themselves than the people they were supposed to guide and protect. Occupied people know about enemies. Friends don’t occupy friends. Enemies do that.
Millions of Christians around the world today live in nations where they are the minority. They understand what Jesus meant when He said, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Talk with a Christian who lives in a country where people hate them because of what they believe and ask them what they think of what Jesus taught about loving your enemies. It can be challenging.
Christians in the United States have been blessed as a majority group for many years, but things are changing quickly. The day is fast approaching when the words Jesus spoke about loving your enemies will take on a much deeper and more urgent meaning. We will have enemies who want to persecute us, even hurt us, and what Jesus said will still be true – love your enemies. That will become our challenge.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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