“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?” — Matthew 5:44-47
Christian Bible Lesson Overview
When you are challenged or criticized by someone, the initial thought is to criticize them. It takes a much better person to respond positively when insulted. It is amazing how strongly an enemy is affected by a considerate response. In some cases, an enemy can be converted into a good friend and be a positive part of your life.
This does not mean that every enemy can be converted into a friend, but it does mean that you are a much better person for trying and you have a chance to develop good relationships with some of your enemies.
Christian Bible Lesson for Today
John was a college student studying business administration at the University of Southern California. He worked hard to get accepted at the university and he wanted to develop as many business relationships as he could so he would have many choices of employment when he completed his college study.
John was required to make many presentations in front of his classes. During these presentations, there were a few students who consistently interrupted him and attacked the points he was making. When interrupted by other students, he would immediately respond with remarks that made the other student’s point seem ridiculous.
After a while, John noticed that he was having challenges finding other students to work with him on projects. He met with his student advisor because he was concerned about his progress at the university. The advisor listened to him and asked questions that revealed the issue with the students who verbally attacked him during presentations. The advisor suggested that he respond positively to a negative comment. The advisor said to then pause and let the other student react. John was not excited about the suggestion but decided to try.
There was not an immediate change in the atmosphere when John did a presentation, but John continued to be positive when someone made a negative comment and he tried to see the other student’s point.
After a couple of weeks, several of the students who verbally attacked him stopped making the attacks and a few of them began to support John.
John realized that by being supportive of his enemies he benefited and so did they. Some of those friendships lasted many years and helped everyone.
Christian Bible Lesson Summary
This message does not mean to let people take advantage of you or hurt you. It does mean that just because someone else is treating you with disrespect, does not mean you have to be like that person. You can maintain your values regardless of the behavior of other people. Your life will improve from treating everyone properly.