“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them,h and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be childreni of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
The Jews despised the Romans because they oppressed God’s people, but Jesus told the people to love these enemies. Such words turned many away from Christ. Jesus wasn’t talking about having affection for enemies; he was talking about an act of the will. You can’t “fall into” this kind of love—it takes conscious effort. Loving our enemies means acting in their best interests. We can pray for them, and we can think of ways to help them. Jesus loves the whole world, even though the world is in rebellion against God. Jesus asks us to follow his example by loving our enemies. Grant your enemies the same respect and rights as you desire for yourself.
Tyndale House Publishers. Life Application Study Bible, NIV