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Bible Verses of the Week

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (NLT, Matthew 5:43–48)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone...  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV, Romans 12:17, 18, 21)  

The English word "love" has many different meanings, but the original Greek word agape, used here, means specifically kindness and goodwill. It is love we do rather than love we feel. The language includes all types of relationships from personal to international. However, it does not imply that we must allow enemies to do whatever they please with no restraint.

Just as God loves all people of His creation, we must do the same. We must pray for those who hate us rather than hating them in return. We live in a world permeated by evil, but we must not lower ourselves to its standards. Instead, we must show by our love that we belong to God, not to the world (John 15:18-19, 13:34-35 Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17). For more details: What Does the Bible Say About Love?, What Does the Bible Say About War?

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