Luke 6:[27] “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

“… love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Thus we have what should be the natural Christian ethic. Those professing faith in Christ have not always exhibited this ethic and Christ’s name and glory have suffered because of it. But this ethic has been demonstrated very powerfully by a great number of professing Christians and it is a shame that they are not as famous as those who violate the principle, but such is the way of humanity.

To love one’s enemies is defined in these few brief words – do good to them. We are called to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). It is wrong to say that this cannot be done. It is done all the time. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).

This hatred, it needs to be pointed out, is hatred due to the Gospel. Because we follow Christ, there will be those who hate us. This is not a maybe. This is a definite. It is our calling. As Peter tells us I Peter 3:9:

[9] Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Jesus has just finished saying that we are blessed when people hate us (Verse 22). It is not an “if”. It is a “when”. And the way to triumph over it is to return it with good. This is also our calling. When we have opportunity to do good to those who have hurt or maligned us we will not hesitate to do so. To love our enemies does not begin with feeling certain things about them. It is to show loving acts and do loving things for them.

Love is kind and to love our enemies will be to be kind to them. Love is patient and we will exhibit patience toward those who are very impatient with us. Love is not rude and we will not seek to justify rudeness to some people on the basis that they were rude to us or they actually tried to do us harm. Love does not rejoice with evil and while we are being kind and patient to those who may be counted as our enemies we will, at the same time, not condone their evil beliefs or practices. We will hate the clothing stained by corrupted flesh (Jude 23) while at the same time embracing those who wear them. Love is not arrogant and we will not look down on those who are enemies because of their faulty belief system, their immorality or their opposition to us.

This is not easy and it takes a power greater than our own. So we do these things in obedience to what Jesus has said and at the same time we will be utterly dependent on Him who gives us strength. What a revolutionary teaching Jesus gives here.

Do we believe it? Do we look for opportunities to live it? Do we show in our response to this teaching that we are not conformed to the world but transformed from it by the renewing of our minds? How much more good could the church have accomplished over two thousand years if it had been more committed to living this ethic? And how much trouble could have been avoided? Do we really believe it is better to live like this, or will we live by the rules of those who do not know Christ and feel no compunction to live according to His rules at all? What then would make us different? How then would we demonstrate Christ to them and others?

This is the power of the Gospel. We should be willing to give it a go.