But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
— LUKE 6:27 —
McJoster Mwalweni: Central African Preaching Academy | Malawi
Human beings are born with the tendency to seek vengeance. We do good to those who do good to us, and we do evil to those who do evil against us. But ask yourself this question: Does God deal with me in the same way I deal with others? When Jesus was on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). And Stephen, when being stoned, cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60). In our verse today, Jesus exercised His divine authority as He said, “But I say to you …” This means that these words were coming from Him directly and that we are to obey them. Brothers and sisters, let us not seek hateful vengeance on our enemies. Instead, let us love them even as Christ has loved us. Jesus is contrasting His teaching with the traditional teaching of the scribes and Pharisees. These leaders misused Leviticus 24:20 (“eye for eye, tooth for tooth”) as justification for hating their enemies. They took this verse as more than a statement about punishment fitting the crime; they extended it to teach that we should exercise vengeance on our enemies. Jesus rejected the hateful teaching of the scribes and Pharisees and gave several ways to demonstrate love to our enemies instead. He speaks of doing good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27), blessing and praying for them (Luke 6:28), not doing harm to them (Luke 6:29), giving to them what they ask from us (Luke 6:30), and doing to them whatever we would want them to do to us (Luke 6:31). Brothers and sisters, let us not seek hateful vengeance on our enemies. Instead, let us love them even as Christ has loved us.