“I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons 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.”
Imitate your Father’s Love
We are blessed to be children of our heavenly Father. We did not earn or deserve the distinction of being members of his family. Rather, the Father graciously adopted us through the water and Word of Holy Baptism. Through the life and death of our brother Jesus Christ, the heavenly Father continues to freely pour out his grace and love upon his children.
It is the Lord’s boundless love for us that captivates our hearts with love for him and for others–even our enemies. Do we imagine that Jesus asks too much from us when called upon to love those who act lovelessly toward us? Are we tempted to limit the love that we show to certain people? When we personally experience heaped-up human hatred and read Facebook posts that are fuming with fury, are we engaged to join in the rage too?
If so, Jesus calls us to repent and to imitate our heavenly Father’s love. In a demonstration of immeasurable mercy, the rays of the Father’s sun shine upon all, even unbelievers. He shows his love for his own enemies by showering them with rain from above. Most importantly, he continues to extend his invitation of forgiveness to those who have spurned his love and his will.
Although we have felt the stabs of hurtful words and the blows of hateful actions, Christ’s selfless love for us compels us to shower our enemies with Christ’s love. We do so in the hope that our enemies may be brought to repentance and rescued from their sin as the rays of the Son’s forgiving grace penetrate their hearts and lives.
Dear Jesus, you faced the blows and hateful words of your enemies. Then you carried my sin and shame to the cross. Because of you, I am no longer a hostile enemy of God, but rather a blood-bought child of God. Your limitless love for me compels me to love others without limit—even my enemies. Amen.