Loving Your Enemies

Loving Your Enemies

In the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Luke 6:27-38), Jesus holds his “Sermon on the Plain”. It is not a simple text. It requires some personal Bible study. Jesus is speaking to his newly chosen disciples plus a great crowd of people. He begins with blessings and woes and then he tells them to love their enemies and to do good things to those who hate you. This command is so important to him that he tells them a second time, “love your enemies and do good to them“.

Who Are Our Enemies?

This text makes me a little uncomfortable. Our enemies are not people who we don’t like or who we are against. Our enemies are people who are against us, who don’t like us and want to destroy us. I believe it is safe to assume that these are people whom we don’t always wish the best for. But Jesus tells us we must! For many of us, this is impossible. Jesus tells us to bless people who talk bad about us and to pray for those who treat us badly. No matter how hard it is to admit, we all have people in our lives who don’t wish us well. We might sit and think and wonder what we did wrong to receive such treatment. It’s as if we are held prisoner and the anger it causes us can be life consuming. I am not sure if our human nature can completely follow Jesus’ command, but we must find a way to try. Jesus doesn’t tell us that we have to invite them for dinner. He does tell us to offer the other cheek when they strike us.


We can not change the nature of others but we can lead by our example of Christian life. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We should not be like our enemies, but being more like Christ: kind and merciful. In the middle of this Gospel Jesus tells us “do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Golden words to live by.