“You Therefore Must Be Perfect” (Matthew 5: 43 – 45, ESV) by Carley Evans

Jesus acknowledges that under the old covenant, hating one’s enemy is expected. Retribution is the rule, not the exception — ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ (Matthew 5: 38) Today, Islam lives under this same rule of retribution. But, under the new covenant which Jesus introduces to His disciples and followers, Jesus calls them and us to “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us], so that [we] may be sons of [our] Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 43 – 44)

Jesus calls us to perfection. In us there must be no evil intention, no thought or act of hatred or revenge. If we only love those who love us, “what reward do [we] have?” (Matthew 5: 46)

How do we love the man who murders our child? How do we love the woman who steals our husband? How do we love the drunk driver who totals our car? How do we love the colleague who cheats on his taxes? How do we love the neighbor who plays music so loudly it makes our floors vibrate? How do we love the driver who cuts us off in traffic and nearly causes a needless accident? How do we love the person in the grocery store who drops a jar of jelly and walks away without a thought?

I maintain we don’t. I maintain that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, loves these individuals through us. Hence Jesus asks us to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 48)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow! Great thought… It is not us doing the work, before we know it, we’re praying for them rather than complaining about them, we’re trying to witness Christ love to them in action not just in word… this is so true… so it is with every facet of godly living… it’s no more I that do it, but Jesus is present with me.

    1. lambskinny says:

      Amen! Jesus works through us to bring others to Himself; all through the power of His Holy Spirit.

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