Love your Enemy?

By Lindsey Franklin
February 16, 2017 - 1:13pm

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."

This scripture passage, the grand finale of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew, has been described as the most unreasonable of all his teachings.

Love your neighbor as yourself? OK, that's pretty hard, but perhaps doable from time to time. But love your enemy? The bar just seems to be set too high. The idea of loving your enemy feels so foreign to many of us, so against our deepest instincts as human beings, that it seems impossible.

We tend to treat others how they treat us-- we return kindness with kindness, anger with anger, love with love. We think of love as the deep, sacred love that we have for a partner, a child, a dear friend. The loving kindness that we strive to shower on those for whom we care most. The people we always remember (or forget) to tell we love them on Valentine's Day. But this is not the kind of love that Jesus talks about here.

Here Jesus asks us to shift our whole framework on love. In pushing us to love our enemies, he demands that we challenge the unspoken rules that guide everyday interactions, that guide our relationship with the world around us.

So this week we are going to ask, "What, exactly, is Jesus calling us to do? What would loving your enemy look like in your life?"

In faith,
Lindsey Franklin
Seminarian