38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5: 38-48
This past week at youth, we studied these verses from Sermon on the Mount discussing retaliation. People are hard to love. People can annoy us, be mean to us, disagree with us, and work hard to cause us to fail. It is not natural for us to love people the way God loves us. It isn’t something we can do alone, therefore we need Him to be able to love people the way we are meant to.
Retaliation is a part of our human flesh that has the ability to control our lives if we let it. So, to be able to control this, we as Christians have to learn perfect love. Perfect love is all encompassing. It is loving people similar and people different. Even the worst of people love each other; it is branching out and loving those unlike us that makes us a part of the Kingdom. Essentially, this is what love does. It shows people that we are a part of God’s family, because loving our enemies comes from Him. It doesn’t come from us.
Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. This is the love we show our enemies. We recognize that it isn’t about us. We have to be willing to sacrifice and turn the other cheek. And, what I think needs to be reminded to us often, is that we have to understand that there is no end in this love. There will never be a point in time where we are done loving our enemies. This is a thought that can easily sound exhausting and draining, and in a way, it is. However, loving someone this way puts into perspective just how amazing God’s love for us is.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
We are all hard to love. Every single one of us. But, through those times where we are especially hard to love, someone has loved us. Whether it be our parents, our friends, or God himself, we have been loved. None of us are without fault, without burdens, and without sin. Because of the love we have been shown, we must love each other. We must show the perfect, whole, indiscriminate love God shows us to others, because He showed it to us first.
- What makes people easy to love? What makes them hard to love? Is it hard for people to love us?
- What is the meaning of a perfect(indiscriminate) love?
- What are some ways to “not resist an evil person?”
- Read Matthew 5:45 together. Break it down and discuss how this verse affects our feelings and thoughts towards our lives as Christians.
I pray that we are all able to learn the vitality behind loving all of those similar and different. I pray that we show God’s perfect love to our enemies. That we remember how incredible God’s love is towards us in all of the mistakes that we make and remember that we are not perfect. That we are humbled in this love and grace, so we can spread God’s word through it all. I pray that we allow God’s Kingdom to be shown through our indiscriminate love towards others.