I am thankful for the grace of God. Every day I am reminded that I am in no way deserving of God’s love and mercy, yet He chose to give it to me anyways. Romans 5:8 is an affirmation of all of our stories:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this : while were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Understanding that we were at one time enemies of God, and undeserving of grace; helps us as we move forward in the life God has called us to live. The model of love to enemies is Christ’s love to the world. So when Jesus speaks in Matthew 5:43-48 and tells us to demonstrate the love of God even in the difficult times, He first modeled that love.
While it is difficult to love your enemy, and to pray for your persecutor, and to welcome them into your fellowship, it is the task God commands to us. Why? Verse 45 says that the reason is so we can be children of our Father in heaven. That means we can rightly represent the Father through sharing His love.
As adults we need to examine how we are relating to people who are set against us, so that we can work to model Christ’s love to them. How are you praying for your persecutor (perhaps your boss or your neighbor)? How are you loving your enemy? Is there any person who your child would say you hate? These self-examination questions encourage us to do better in the tough task of demonstrating God’s love. Try and remember though, that God’s love was demonstrated to you while you were His enemy, and in return He asks us to show that same love to our enemies.