In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes it up a notch instructing us to love our 'enemies' and 'those who persecute you'. Pastor Jarrod McKenna (co-founder of the First Home Project and a Pastor at Westcity Church in Perth) reflects on this radical challenge and how it opens us up to the very heart of God.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5.43-48 (NIV)
Jesus is persistent in his call to ‘love thy neighbour’, but in today's passage he takes it up a notch.
Who exactly are we to love?
Why are we to love like this?
Are there any people in your life you identify as your enemies or persecutors?
Enemy love is hard, but transforming. Bring an honest prayer to God about who you find unlovely or an enemy and invite God to transform you and make you more like Jesus.
TAKE IT FURTHER
"At the time I did not think he was going to traffic me as he knew me. I went with him and was trafficked. I got no money and after all the hard work and pain, I still have no bike and nothing to show for the time on the cocoa farm. I know I am not the only one."
This Easter a practical way to love your neighbour is to buy chocolate eggs that are free of human trafficking. Check out Stop The Traffik to learn more and purchase eggs that are Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ labeled products as you celebrate.