“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44).

The thought of loving an enemy sounds insane. But God calls His people to forgive everyone, even an overly demanding boss, a mean-spirited neighbor, or a relative who mocks the Christian faith. Keep in mind, as Jesus hung on the cross dying for the sins of humanity, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What a powerful example of love! Our Lord even chose to forgive His murderers.

If you’re struggling to forgive others, a good motivator is to remember that you needed God’s forgiveness too. Out of gratitude for the merciful forgiveness and sanctification God has shown to you, you should extend forgiveness to others. Perhaps the love you demonstrate through forgiveness will turn an enemy into a fellow believer.

Thought for Today: Although we may never know what caused our enemies to become mean, cold-hearted people, God sees their inner pain and longs to heal them.

Quicklook: Matthew 5:43–45

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